Ahmedabad: India’s head coach Rahul Dravid doesn’t regret one bit playing the ongoing Test series against Australia on spinner-friendly tracks as World Test Championship points are at premium and most countries are preparing result-oriented pitches.
While India lead Australia 2-1 in the four-Test series, the “poor” rating of Indore track by ICC match referee Chris Broad has once again raised questions about playing on rank turners, where all the games finished inside three days.
“I won’t go too much into it. Match referee is entitled to share his opinion. Doesn’t really matter if I agree with his reading or not. Doesn’t matter what I think. But sometimes with WTC points at stake, you tend to play on wickets that produce results,” Dravid was straightforward in his defence of the three tracks in Nagpur, Delhi and Indore.
However, he didn’t forget to mention that data analysis of tracks prepared by home teams in last few years has shown that the 22-yard strips in most places have been challenging.
“It can happen, not only in India but across the world if you see, sometimes it is difficult to get that balance perfectly right for everyone and that can happen not only here but in other places as well,” the man with 164 Test matches under his belt said.
Dravid did give a bit of idea as to what has been the trigger behind asking for these kind of raging turners. It was the 2021 Test match in Kanpur against New Zealand where India failed to pick up nine wickets on the final day.
“There is a huge premium on results and if you draw a game like we did in Kanpur versus New Zealand, that sets you back in a home game. When you have 12 for a win and 4 for draw, you want to get a win ahead of a draw,” he stated.
There was a hint of sarcasm as well as irritation when he spoke about the tracks in South Africa where India played three Tests early last year.
“We have played on some challenging wickets when we go overseas also. Played in South Africa recently (2022), where spinners were completely taken out of the game,” he said curtly.
“And everyone wants to produce wickets where eventually one wants results. You will probably prepare wickets where the ball holds a bit more sway over the bat and that’s necessary and part of the game,” Dravid didn’t deny the bowlers’ advantage.
Batting performances need bit of perspective
India have only one century among top-order batter, scored by skipper Rohit Sharma, while Cheteshwar Pujara is the only other player with a 50 plus score.
“You need to be realistic as to what is a good performance on these challenging wickets, not only here but if you look at last three to four years, wickets have generally got challenging everywhere.
“So you need to be realistic what the bench-marks are now, what standards are on these kinds of surfaces just one good performance can change the game. We saw that with Rohit’s performance (in Nagpur) and we have seen that.” On these tracks, Dravid, in fact, is not even expecting a double hundred or a ‘Daddy Hundred’.
“It might not be a double hundred but a 50-60 or 70 somewhere, but could actually be a very, very good score in some conditions.” Someone cheekily asked about the critics, saying that during the head coach’s playing days there used to be good batting strips on offer and 550 plus used to be scored.
“No one wants extremes but it can happen. I am not going to divulge personal conversations with my players and everyone wants to win and qualify.”