“In India, people live in the moment,” Ashish Nehra declared. That was as much as he could disclose to the media about how the M Chinnaswamy Stadium pitch would behave in the World Twenty20 clash against Bangladesh on Wednesday.
The question was about the openers, Shikhar Dhawan in particular, who has failed in the first two games and is not looking confident at all, against both pace and spin.
Nehra pointed to the match-winning 60 the left-hander had scored in the Asia Cup final against Bangladesh. “The format is so quick, you can’t judge a player in two or three games,” he told a media conference.
The hosts, seeking to regain the World T20 title which they won in 2007, have been clear about their tactics. Turning pitches are their strength, and they have persisted with it although the Kiwis won a tactical war in Nagpur by playing three spinners.
Up the garden path
New Zealand coach Mike Hesson in fact suggested in Mohali on Tuesday that the Nagpur curator had promised runs and bounce, while the pitch did just the opposite.
Hesson’s team is being praised for making the smartest moves to tackle the conditions, and in Mohali, he said it was very important to keep one’s counsel and wait till the last minute before picking the final eleven.
Three spinners against India and two against Australia paid rich dividends. It is a tactic every other team might adopt.
Although India were anxious to win, and were facing Pakistan, traditionally strong with spin, the Eden Gardens pitch remained a turner. This was despite rain keeping the track under covers and reducing the game to 18 overs each.
The big draw
Virat Kohli has been the hero of India, and thousands will pack the stadium on Wednesday, hoping that the Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper will atone for Chris Gayle, another RCB hero, not strutting his batting before them against Sri Lanka on Sunday.
Fans love to see the batsmen fire, especially those with a strong IPL connect. However, victory is more important for them whichever way it comes. India were 79 all out in the first game and needed only 119 to beat Pakistan. The wickets across the venues --- Mumbai being the exception --- have helped spinners. However, other teams are no longer worried if the ball spits and bounces.
The pitch being prepared is the one on which Sri Lanka batsmen came unhinged against West Indies spinners. On Sunday, it gripped the surface and turned. But how the groundsmen prepare the three-day old surface will be interesting. Bangladesh can still pack a mean spin attack and India will be wary not to let the team, almost out after two losses, spoil their chances.
Nehra, 36, who has made a splendid comeback, in fact felt India batsmen should put up a good show regardless of what kind of pitch is provided. “The kind of cricket we have been playing, and the kind of fireworks we have, if we deliver we will be fine,” he declared.