India vs New Zealand: Anil Kumble Smothers Green Park Pitch Talk
Anil Kumble was not surprised that his pre-match press conference centered around on the nature of the Green Park wicket in Kanpur and that India would take full advantage against New Zealand on a track that is expected to turn
The Indian head coach was not surprised that his pre-match press conference centered around on the nature of the Green Park wicket and that Virat Kohli's team would take full advantage of a track that is expected to turn.
Kumble identified New Zealand as a special international team that had three varieties of spinners -- leg spinner (Ish Sodhi), off spinner (Mark Craig) and left-arm spinner (Mitchel Santer).
"New Zealand have always done really well. They are not just good at home, they tour really well. The fact that they have three spinners (each being different from another), yes we watched them, at least I watched the two spinners out of three in T20 World Cup where they played a significant role in the team.
"Heartening to see spinners play a major role in other teams and not just the Indian team. We respect the opponents, not just in the spin department but in all departments. They have different spin variations, which you don't see often in a foreign team."
Kumble said his team had not asked for a rank turner for the first Test beginning, saying that that focus this long home season will only be on cricket irrespective of the conditions.
"It is the first match of the home series, I knew the first question would be about the pitch and also the last question," said Kumble.
"Nobody is demanding anything. We will go into the game thinking that our spinners are better. We hope the performance we produced in the West Indies continues at home as well. Yes, there will be spin and opinions will be formed after the first ball. But since I am the coach, I can't think like that. We make our plans as the game goes on," said Kumble.
There has been a lot of pitch talk, which is usual before the start of a home series. However, Kumble, being a legendary spinner himself, is only concerned about the cricket his team plays in the home season comprising 13 Tests.
"According to me, it is a typical Kanpur wicket. It is start of the season, it has rained a lot and the surface has not been used much of late. It is looking good. Having said that, I believe that the talk should be about cricket that is played on the pitch and not the pitch. In the team meetings, we have discussed this only. Whatever wicket we get, we will adapt and play," said the former India Test captain.
With so much bilateral cricket played all around the world, Kumble said there was not much of surprise element left in the game.
"I don't think there is any intrigue left. The challenge is to adapt to the conditions as quickly as possible. Equally, the same for the home team as well.
"The home team certainly has the advantage in these conditions but for a foreign team, the conditions are no longer alien. Most of the New Zealand players have played in the IPL, so they know what to expect and how to adapt," Kumble stated.
Speaking on the challenges facing a modern-day cricketer, Kumble said switching formats is not easy with so much T20 cricket being played.
"It is quite challenging for the modern day cricketer to keep changing formats. Invariably, when you are playing in the shorter format, the game is always in favour of the batsmen. When it comes to Tests, irrespective of the condtions, we have seen modern day cricketers struggle after doing well initially.
"For example, they were good players of seam bowling in the previous year but they struggled on a seaming track (the following season) because of what the modern day batsman encounters.
"One good thing we have had is that we are coming off a Test series and getting into a Test series. In terms of preparation, we have spent a lot of time on how to play spinners, how to respond to playing spinners. We will will only improve," felt Kumble.
The Kanpur Test will be India's 500th Test in the format. Kumble said it was a great milestone.
"For me, to be part of the Indian team was special and a great honour. Starting from 1932 till today, there have been great players who have contributed to this great legacy of 499 Tests. Each of them has looked to raise the bar and this team is no different. All of us should celebrate this milestone and recollect the memories provided by the former players," said Kumble.
(With PTI Inputs)