Cricket

Dry pitch could assist spinners

Ready to pouch: India Blue's Smit Patel goes through the drills with fitness trainer Rajesh Chauhan.

Ready to pouch: India Blue's Smit Patel goes through the drills with fitness trainer Rajesh Chauhan.   | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

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India Blue meets India Red in the summit clash

Driving through the heartland of Tamil Nadu, past verdant fields and tranquil villages, it does seem incomprehensible that you are on your way to watch a Duleep Trophy final.

Taking cricket to far flung venues — Natham, near Dindigul, in this case — is a welcome move by the Board. Cricket needs to spread its wings, more and more.

And the NPR College ground with a lush green outfield is a luscious venue.

But then, there is little grass on the pitch. And it is here that the BCCI often does not get it right.

Domestic competitions need to be played on green pitches to enable the emerging batsmen get used to the bounce and seam movement. On such tracks, batsmen can develop their footwork, improve judgment of line. Picking the length, travelling forward in a decisive manner or going deep into the crease — back-foot play is so crucial — is an essential part of the learning curve.

 

And the Board, on several occasions, has missed the trick. It’s not surprising that India’s Test record outside the sub-continent continues to be ordinary.

Here, India Blue meets India Red on Tuesday in the summit clash of a day-night pink ball competition that has lost its edge really after the titanic Duleep duels of the past between North and West Zone, a particularly fierce rivalry, or South against either North or West.

Central and East could ambush the big guns as well. Now, we have teams without identity, India Blue, Red and Green. Does anyone remember who won the tournament last season?

But the competition does provide an avenue for promising cricketers to showcase their skills.

India Blue’s strokeful Dhruv Shorey has sparkled with 275 runs at 68.75. And India Red’s reliable opener Sanjay Ramaswamy has 238 at 79.33. Baba Aparajith, compact and efficient, has 191 at 63.66.

Among the bowlers, India Blue left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar has 14 scalps at 18.78.

He might have a chunky role in the final where the rather dry pitch could assist spinners midway through the second day and batting last could be hazardous.

Mithun out with injury

India Red paceman Abhimanyu Mithun is out with an ankle strain. With left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem and seamer Rajneesh Gurbani joining the India-A ranks against Australia-A, Red’s attack has been weakened.

However, nippy paceman Prasidh Krishna and aggressive wicket-keeper batsman Ishan Kishan have come in for Red.

Heavy-hitter Deepak Hooda will bolster India Blue.

In a game where the spinners could be influential, India Red off-spinner Parvez Rasool and leggie Mihir Hirwani could provide turning points.

Play starts at 1.30 p.m.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 11:41:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/dry-pitch-could-assist-spinners/article24856831.ece

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