India captain slams home pitches - 'shocker of a wicket'

Tue, Jan 31
Hardik Pandya embraces Suryakumar Yadav after winning the second T20 against the Black Caps.

Stand-in Indian cricket captain Hardik Pandya has slammed the quality of the pitches used to host the Black Caps for the first two matches of their T20 series in India, saying he hopes Ahmedabad will provide a better surface for their decider.

The two sides were caught out in the opening T20 last week by the sharp turn throughout the match in Ranchi before spinners were even more dominant on Sunday in Lucknow when the Black Caps were held to 99-8 in the first innings before India snuck home for a six-wicket win on the penultimate ball.

In fact, 30 of the 40 wickets taken so far in the series have come from spinners and despite the bombastic nature of T20 cricket, not a single six has been hit so far in the two matches played.

To date, Devon Conway's 52 from 35 in the first game has been the highest individual score by a batter in the series.

The statistics has left Pandya frustrated.

"To be honest, it was a shocker of a wicket," Pandya said after the second match.

"I don't mind difficult wickets. I am all up for that, but these two wickets are not made for T20.

"Somewhere down the line the curators or the grounds that we are going to play in should make sure they prepare the pitches in time."

Mitchell Santner gestures.

Black Caps stand-in skipper Mitchell Santner conceded he actually asked pacer Lockie Ferguson if he could bowl off-spin in the second match having used part-timers Glenn Phillips (0-17 from 4) and Mark Chapman (0-4 from 1) in addition to himself (0-20 from 4), Bracewell and Ish Sodhi (1-24 from 4).

"I was trying to find them (spinners) from everywhere," Santner said.

"I was asking Lockie if he could bowl some off-spin. I think you don't often see more than 12 overs of spin out there. I think maybe we bowled 16 or 17, so it's definitely something different."

That was about the only comment the Black Caps would give on the spin-friendly pitches with all rounder Michael Bracewell taking coy approach to questions around it.

"It's probably not a wicket that you want to play on every single time you play a Twenty20, but once every now and then is an exciting opportunity to learn and try and grow your skills," Bracewell said.

"We can't complain. It's exciting to try and figure out a way to play on these different wickets."

Michael Bracewell bowls against India.

In fact, Bracewell said the challenging turf could be seen as a positive.

"If you play on a wicket like that all the time, or a wicket that's flat all the time, you don't get a true test of your skills. I think a variety of wickets around the world is a positive thing," Bracewell said.

“I think both teams showed that the spinners bowled really well and made it really difficult to score. Not having a six scored in the game is probably a reflection of that. It was not an easy wicket to bat on, and it's one of those games, a very exciting game, but probably a little bit different to the normal Twenty20 that we expect.”


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