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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014
Dhoni leaves curators fuming
Khurram Habib, Hindustan Times
Bangalore, September 05, 2012
First Published: 00:46 IST(5/9/2012)
Last Updated: 00:49 IST(5/9/2012)
Captain MS Dhoni during a training session ahead of the India-New Zealand second Test match at M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore. (Gurpreet Singh/Hindustan Times)

Although India wrapped up the second Test against New Zealand in four days, the Chinnaswamy Stadium wicket got rave reviews from former cricketers sitting in the commentators' box.

The sporting wicket, which had some moisture throughout due to overcast conditions and lack of sunshine, set up an exciting Test match that swayed either way throughout.

But despite coming on top of the see-saw battle, India skipper MS Dhoni wasn't exactly happy with the wicket, or for that matter the one at Hyderabad where the Kiwis found themselves in a spin.

"One definite area where we would like ourselves is playing on tracks that turn. That's something we didn't get in the series," Dhoni said after helping wrap up victory.

By saying this, he seems to set an agenda for the biggest contests that lie ahead, against England and Australia, and the kind of wickets he would like to pin down the rivals. After all, India were thumped 0-4 by both sides on seamer-friendly tracks.

Demand justified
Former India all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar saw nothing wrong with Dhoni's demand. "He is a shrewd captain. He knows his strength, which is spin, so, why not? He is justified in asking for such tracks."

It should be noted that spinners took 31 of the 40 wickets in this short series and a couple of Kiwi players contradicted Dhoni saying that the Hyderabad pitch did afford a lot of turn. Bangalore helped seamers and Tim Southee grabbed seven-wickets in the first innings, but R Ashwin was also delighted that the pitch afforded bounce and made him more effective.

Angry lot
However, Dhoni's comments have left one important lot unhappy - the curators.

"The wicket, especially the one in Bangalore, was praised by everyone. He (Dhoni) is probably asking for a rank turner, and we can't give it," said a senior curator.

"The ICC will dock us, the match referee or the opposition team will send a note to ICC. You know what happened in Delhi (in last year's Test against West Indies). I think Dhoni should be happy they beat New Zealand in four days."

The wicket is the host association's prerogative, and the president of the Karnataka association is spin legend Anil Kumble. Ahead of this season, a lot of talk was around how India should replay Australia and England.

Dhoni wants to make it really tough for them. Even Gautam Gambhir had pitched in for a tit-for-tat policy.

The curator, however, says, "They didn't give bad wickets in Australia or England. It was the failure of our batting. Some like the one in Sydney were completely flat and had very little for the bowlers."

The picture will be clear when England take guard for the first Test in Ahmedabad in mid-November.


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