Former India skipper Rahul Dravid believes there is nothing wrong with turning tracks.
“I have no problem with tracks in India turning. And I felt that the Motera track did turn. Maybe, there wasn’t as much bounce as the Indians would have liked. Yes, there will always be turn on sub-continent wickets but I’d like to see wickets that have some bounce and pace as well, said Dravid.
Former India coach Greg Chappell feels that for India winning at home is no great challenge but the he had hoped that the response to the poor touring record would have been more creative than to deny England practice against spin bowling in the lead-up match and then confront them with spin on a dust bowl.
But perhaps Bishen Singh Bedi put it best on his twitter account, when he tweeted: I’ve never seen a wicket ‘turning’ or ‘seaming’– always believed it was the bowler who ‘turned’ or ‘seamed’…!!
But while the verdict on Dhoni’s demands is still out, there can be no doubt that the other teams will look to pay him and India back in kind. We didn’t hear any calls for seaming tracks in England or Australia or South Africa and we didn’t hear any because there were none.
Dhoni has crossed a line; a line that isn’t set in stone but it’s there all the same. His short term vision will boomerang on Indian cricket in more ways than one.
For starters, it tells you that India are only capable of winning in conditions that are to their liking. All this while the BCCI has been talking about producing good wickets that will help Indian cricketers excel in all conditions but now we know that it is all talk.
On the other hand, by demanding tracks that turn Dhoni is also sending out an adverse message to all young fast bowlers in India. He’s basically telling that at home, they are destined to fight against the odds. And this despite the Indian seamers outbowling their English counterparts. A look at the performances of Indian pacers performances at home (courtesy @mohanstatsman on twitter) shows that they certainly deserve more respect: Indian pace wkts at home in Test wins: 1933-1979: 19%; 1980-1999: 29%; 2000-2012: 33%; last 5 yrs: 37%.
The percentage is steadily going up and as recently as 2008, Ishant Sharma even earned a man of the series award in a series against Australia at home. So why does Dhoni want only rank turners? Rather, shouldn’t he be encouraging his seamers to get in on the act as well.
Thirdly, India can be sure that the knives will be out on their next trips to England — the grass covering will be pretty thick and India won’t have an answer to that or perhaps their answer will be prepare turners again. On the subcontinent, you were going to get tracks that turn anyway — why would you want to blatantly come out and ask for them.
Dhoni and the BCCI have once again displayed a brand of arrogance that has become their USP in recent times. In sport, respecting your opponents is a must. India have failed to do that and their will be a price to pay.