x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

MS Dhoni is making the wrong pitch

By asking for 'square turners', the India cricket team captain is playing into England's hands, writes Ahmed Rizvi.

MS Dhoni should focus on how to improve his team's performances rather than bother about pitches, writes our columnist. Aijaz Rahi / AP Photo
MS Dhoni should focus on how to improve his team's performances rather than bother about pitches, writes our columnist. Aijaz Rahi / AP Photo

Once bitten, twice shy? Not in the world of Indian cricket it seems.

After demanding a "square turner" and getting it in Mumbai, India crashed to a 10-wicket loss in the second Test against England. And the India captain MS Dhoni has demanded a similar wicket in Kolkata for the third Test, starting on Wednesday.

His insistence seems a mystery. India do not have an Anil Kumble in their ranks and a Harbhajan Singh lookalike seems to be showing up these days, not the "Turbanator".

Spin is not India's strength. Truth be told, bowling itself is not India's strength anymore. Since July 21, 2011, the India bowlers have been the worst performers in Test cricket after Bangladesh, picking up wickets at an average of 40.39.

Asking for spinning tracks is an effort to paper over these cracks – put a spin, as they say in journalism parlance. But it was in vain in Mumbai and there is every chance of it failing in Kolkata. England have a far better spin attack and the argument is not based on the Mumbai Test alone.

Graeme Swann has been the leading spinner in cricket in the past few years and Monty Panesar has shown he can deliver when given the chance.

They made life miserable for the Indians in Mumbai and expect to do the same in Kolkata.

Dhoni, then, should beware what he is wishing for. Harping about "our strengths" makes no sense if the opposition is stronger in that segment. So instead of telling the curators what they must do, the captain should find solutions to his team's woes.

arizvi@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE