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Sight Screen

Monday, October 24, 2005

Pitch perfect?

Indian Express has this piece on what conditions at the VCA stadium in Nagpur are like, for the first of the ODIs.
The pitch prepared for the first one-dayer is completely void of any grass, which VCA president Shashank Manohar feels ’’will make the match more entertaining.’’
VCA curator Kishore Pradhan has also supported the idea of grass on the wicket, in the past. But it is open knowledge that the curator supports Manohar’s line of thinking more than anything else. ‘‘The wicket is full of runs and can provide the crowd with a run fest,’’ say VCA officials. Previous one-dayers at this venue have also been high-scoring matches-like the final ODI between India and South Africa in 2000, where over 550 runs were scored.

Seems par for the course -- for some reason, the mindset at home, for ODIs, has been to make the sort of pitches where you can't get out unless you try very very hard to, and reduce the game to a straight contest between bat and bat, while bowlers play the part of those unfortunates in magic shows who get into a wooden box and get sawn in half. I'd think if this read of the pitch is right, it's likely the template for most pitches that will be in use in the upcoming season.

24 Comments:

  • Blog is good. Dont't stop. I'm sure you may be interested in scommesse . Just scommesse

    By Blogger John, at 11:51  

  • I'm rather disappointed to hear the Nagpur wicket is completely devoid of grass. Somewhat par for the course I guess that when playing a test against the Aussies at this venue, a fast, bouncy wicket with grass was prepared, while against the Sri Lankans, we've prepared a belter. Considering the nature of the batsmen on both sides, this is a mistake. The Sri Lankans have more strokeplayers in their side and bat a very long way down the order. The Indian middle order is likely to consist of Dravid and Rao, both accumulators. Sachin on his return is likely to play an accumulator's role as well. Not to mention, Vaas and Muralitharan are certainly more adept at bowling on such wickets as compared to the Indian bowlers. If the reports regarding the pitch are to be believed, Sehwag, Yuvraj and Dhoni are going to play a very large role (possibly move Dhoni up the order to 3?). It's imperative that the Indian batsman go after the Sri Lankan change bowlers, if they are to make a fist of things. I really feel this first ODI is absolutely critical; as goes the first match, goes the rest of the series-- that's how I see it.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 12:05  

  • Prem,
    Do you remember the Jamsehdpur pitch where Pak trashed INdia on the last tour? I was hoping for those kind of pitches. Batsmen can play their shots, bowlers get a bit of bounce and pace off the pitch. And the contest seemed less uneven. Those kind of pitches, IMO would have allowed SRT to get back into form too. Or at least, it would have indicated the stage of his recovery in terms of getting back to serious cricket.

    By Blogger Toney, at 12:06  

  • sahir, preparing a pitch like the one for the Aus test is not a good option for ODIs, right? Of course, that doesnt mean that everything should be for the batsmen.

    By Blogger Toney, at 12:07  

  • why not, toney?
    That pitch against the Aussies still produced runs. I mean it certainly gives the bowler more of an opportunity to take wickets, but with the extra pace and bounce, a batsman can really get full value for his shots, should he time them well. It may not be a 300 wicket, but what's wrong with an ODI match where the par score is 240-250?

    By Blogger Sahir, at 12:12  

  • SL have better bowlers to exploit a greentop so I guess it is good that there isn't any grass at the pitch. Also If we bat first, meaning good seaming conditions, we can really struggle against Vaas & Zoysa on a seamer friendly track. So good to see playing to our advantage.

    For once I would like SRT to play his game the way he wants it to, it can be anything like the old vintage sachin or the recent i.e. cautios but more determind SRT. That said I dont want Dhoni @ no. 3 either. He should stay @ no. 5 and leave that spot for Rao/Dravid.

    By Blogger Oracle Guy, at 12:17  

  • sahir, my first post shows what I prefer. But I am not a big fan of sideways movement in ODIs and that would be the case with the excess grass. After all, batsmen do have to play shots in ODIs and this is very difficult when seam movement is invloved, right? Secondly, the conditions have to be same as much as possible. If this is a day match, the team bowling first might have a serious advantage. If this is a day nighter (are there lights at the VCA ground?), with dew, the team bolwing second might have too much of an advt. This is where, the curator has to be clever enough in trying to balance the two innings.

    By Blogger Toney, at 12:20  

  • My argument about a bouncy pitch is, this does give India an advt, in spite of Murali and a couple of good spinners. SLans exploit the slow low pitches in SL to the hilt, with their spinners like CHandana and Jayasurya. But they wont have such an advt if there is a little more bounce and the pitch is true, thus giving scope for shot making

    By Blogger Toney, at 12:21  

  • toney,
    completely agree about the bounce;

    oracle guy,
    our batsmen may struggle against Vaas and Zoysa on a greentop, but their batsman would struggle against Pathan on such a surface. The Sri Lankan batsmen have a worse record than the Indians in green conditions. In fact, Chaminda Vaas has been surprisingly ineffective in the swinging and seaming confines of England. He much rather prefers a slow, low wicket where the ball does not come onto the bat-- something the Sri Lankan pitches are tailor made for.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 12:39  

  • oracle guy,
    Additionally, we have Dravid and Rao in the middle order whose games are more suited to batting on wickets with something in it for the bowlers rather than belters suited for storkeplayers who prop their fornt foot down the wicket and play on the up.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 12:41  

  • sahir: i dont think this pitch is going to be slow and low... this is a pitch where the ball wud come on to the bat... it is not going to be called 'bouncy', but i am sure it is rolled enough so that the SL slow bowlers r going to have a hard time restricting indian batsmen... if u look at the stats section on cricinfo, u wud realize that dilshan has the best average for SL... this pitch wud definitely jack up that number... so much has been said about the rise of SL in the ODIs but the fact is that they have played a lot in their country and my guess is that they will struggle to come in terms with the indian pitches... as oracle_guy said this is also a good opportunity for the indian batters to come into their own and put up a good score... what i am really worried about is the bowling attack which i think wud be cut to pieces...

    By Blogger Mayur, at 12:49  

  • For me whoever came up with the notion that more runs mean more entertainment should be an Idiot. I think cricket should be a contest between bat and ball. Not bat and bat. If thats the case why should we have bowlers at all. May be batting teams coach should throw some balls at the batsmen and see who can hit it more. (Like the home run derby in baseball All star game). I am getting sick of these kind of ODI. Go Test Cricket.

    By Blogger Yorker, at 12:57  

  • Sahir how Lankans would struggle against Pathan? Pathan as far as i know isnt a seam bowler. And a green top isnt gonna help him swing the bowl.

    By Blogger Vick, at 12:57  

  • Whether Pathan is good on greentops or not, I agree that SLan batsmen have a woeful record in such conditions. So, I would rather, we surprise them with such surfaces for the 3 tests. On their last tour,I think De Silva was the key batsman in saving them from defeats (rain played a part too, right?)

    By Blogger Toney, at 13:05  

  • Sahir, Vaas is a better bowler than Pathan and IMO so is Zoysa in seaming conditions, they definately have a better spin attack than us. So it makes sense not to give them the advantage be preparing a greentop.

    Also, with Kaif not there in the team, apart from RD & SRT , I dont have much faith in any of the remaining bastman. I dont think anyone has shown us that they can stick around, when the going is tough, and make a competitive total.

    By Blogger Oracle Guy, at 13:09  

  • Toney are you talking about ODIs or TESTs ? I think this SL batting is well balanced and bats deep. This team has some excellent batsmen in Sanath, Sanga, Jaywardne and some excellent bits and pieces players like Chandana, Arnold and dilshan. So let's not underestimate them. Our team is young, they are experienced.

    By Blogger Oracle Guy, at 13:14  

  • Making a flat batting track is also a huge risk. Our bowlers can be destroyed and humiliated by the likes of SJ and KS !!!

    By Blogger GK, at 13:26  

  • @toney
    yes i do think seaming wickets is the way to go against SL. If we have any single strangth over them it is in the quality of the top order batting. We are better off hoping that SRT and RD can negotiate the ball rather than pinning our hopes on IP, SS, AA, HS etal restricting SL on a featherbed

    By Blogger GK, at 13:29  

  • oracle, what I was hoping for was good bouncy wickets for the ODIs (no seam) and a couple of greenish wkts at least for the tests.

    By Blogger Toney, at 13:31  

  • Toney, you need to have weapons to exploit those greentops. You dont expect IKP, Zak & Santh to exploit the bounce, do you ?

    By Blogger Oracle Guy, at 14:01  

  • oracle, maybe not. But remember, they arent really playing against Aus or SA who are comfortable with some extra bounce. SLan batsmen have shown an aversion to alien conditions in the past. But more importantly, our batsmen have a good chance of regaining form. I alwasy thought, guys like SRT (at least on paper) have a better chance to come good on true pitches with good pace and bounce. The cricket also becomes interesting in such games.

    By Blogger Toney, at 14:10  

  • hey guys..long time no see..whats happening in the world of Prem?

    Read somewhere that Sourav Gangulys been considered for the 2 ODIs??..this true?..stinks if it is!..dont think he should be considered for the rest of the series either...think he should play in at least 3 or 4 domestic matches to show that he's in consistent form and has sorted out his problems..as they say..one swallow does not make a summer..;)

    Any bets on who's taking the series?? Sri Lanka or India?..and score line?..impartiality please..no chest thumping of JAI BHARAT!..:p..think it all hinges on tomorrows match..if Dravid and Tendulkar can push the rest of the team..could up the intensity levels and provide a good series..or else SL's gonna cakewalk over us..;)..*braces for abuse being hurled at me*..

    On an aside..Prem..really glad ure missus is okay...look after her u hear..cater to her every whim and need..:D..

    cheers..

    By Blogger TheChowmeinWarrior, at 15:26  

  • wooah..just checked the weather forecast..might not have a match on tomorrow!!..

    http://weather.yahoo.com/forecast/INXX0093_c.html?force_units=1

    Scattered thunderstorms..and rain late night as well..

    well..hope everything doesnt get washed out..X fingers..

    By Blogger TheChowmeinWarrior, at 15:29  

  • Absolutely agree, and they wonder why one day cricket is losing its lustre.

    By Blogger Rishi Gajria, at 21:30  

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