Australian leg-spin legend Shane Warne suspects India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is playing mind games with the English.
“I don’t like any captain demanding a certain type of pitch, but I don’t think Dhoni has even talked to the groundsman. I think he wants to create doubts in the minds of the England batsman that the pitch would turn big for his spinners. If he is doing that, I like it,” said Warne, who joined the ESPN-STAR Sports presentation team for the second Test between India and England here.
Warne, 43, will return home after the second Test to play the Big Bash T20 and return to India for the entire India-Australia series.
Warne, who played the first four IPL tournaments for Rajasthan Royals, said the groundsman takes pride in producing a good pitch.
“I think initially a good pitch should assist seam bowlers, with the conditions aiding swing.
“Then it should flatten out before allowing spinners to come into play.
“But playing spin on Indian pitches requires different technique and teams with good batsmen will adjust.
“Australian pitches encourage fast bowlers because of the bounce, England seam and swing and South Africa is similar to Australia.”
He said Alastair Cook will emerge a better captain at the end of the series, no matter what the result.
“He cannot be the best captain now. He is learning about himself, the team and trying to pay attention to every ball, over and innings. It’s a personal attack on him.
“All these years, he was only batting and probably giving a few throw-downs. But he showed strong temperament and character in that innings of 168 in the first Test.”
Warne also said England missed a trick by not playing Monty Panesar in the first Test.
“I am sure they’ll play him in the second. He’s a good bowler. I regard Graeme Swann a traditional, world class off-spinner. I think myself and Tim May were a good combination.
“Ideally, a team should have two spinners; one who can turn it in and the other away from the batsman.
“I did not do well in 1998 and 2001, but got a few wickets in 2004.
“It took a while for Australia to understand Indian conditions and win a series here.”
Warne will share the mike with Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid among others.
“I am looking forward to disagreeing on a few points with Sourav. Rahul was a batsman I respected a lot. It’s nice to come back. Cricket commentary is all about trying to describe pictures.”
Finally, he said the ICC should fund the Decision Review System (DRS), not the cricket boards or the broadcasters. “There should be uniformity in all series.”