Nagpur, Feb 8 (IANS): Well before the start of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series, the visiting Australians and their peers have been constantly talking about spin-friendly pitches that the Indians are expected to prepare for the four Tests, calling them doctored wickets.
The Australians have declared the wicket for the first Test at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium here as decidedly spin-friendly and doctored to help the Indian spinners led by Ravichandran Ashwin.
On Wednesday, India skipper Rohit Sharma dismissed all talk about pitches tailor-made for the Indian spinners and said they have to play on whatever wickets are provided to them, just like the Indians do when they are on tour, clearly indicating that the Indians are entitled to use home advantage.
"Doctored wicket? I just feel that we have got to focus on the cricket that is going to be played over the next five days. Do not worry too much about the pitch. In the last series, we played here. A lot was spoken about the pitches, all 22 cricketers who are going to play are all quality cricketers. So not to worry about pitch is going to be like, how much it is turning, seaming or things like that. You are gonna just come out and play good cricket," he said in the pre-game press conference.
The Indian skipper was also asked about how will they bat when the ball is turning a lot as many of his teammates are suspect against quality spin bowling.
"When the ball spins a lot, your methods, your preparation, ways to score runs becomes very important. When you play on pitches like those, it is important to have a counter attacking method as well. That is how you will score runs. The spinners are quite smart, the opposition captains are quite smart. They straightway set the field, so it is not possible to get boundaries that easily. You have to
rotate the strike and see what methods you can score runs off. Sweep, reverse sweep, trying to use your feet and all those kinds of things, most of us have grown up playing on pitches like this.
"Everyone has their own method, some like to go straight over the head of the bowler. Some sweep, some reverse sweep, things like that. That is what we have spoken to all the boys. Find your ways of scoring runs, and countering the bowlers. Yeah, it is going to be challenging. If you see our last series against England, we played very well but obviously, Australia is a different ball game. They have got quality spinners in their ranks who can humble us. No doubt about that. We are aware of what we need to do," he said.
The Indian skipper was also asked how they will choose from the four spinners at his disposal. India have four spinners in the squad for the first two Tests -- R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav. Rohit said, they will take things match by match.
"All four are quality spinners. Jadeja and Ashwin have obviously played a lot together and they have performed consistently. Axar (Patel) and Kuldeep whenever they have gotten an opportunity have done well, they have put the batters under pressure.
"In the last series that we played in India, against England, Axar took a lot of wickets. Kuldeep played the only Test match against Bangladesh and got five wickets there as well. So I mean, to have all four available is a great sign and gives us that comfort as well. And three of them are quality all-rounders. Kuldeep can bat as well, if you saw the Test match against Bangladesh, he got 40-odd crucial runs for us. So when you have players who can do multiple things on the ground, gives us a lot of options and depth as well. I feel having all four of them available to us is a very very positive sign," he added.