Dhoni 'pitch'es for home advantage

MS Dhoni ma­de a strong pitch for exploiting home advantage while preparing surfaces for Test matches in India.

The Indian skipper has long advocated spin-friendly tracks for the simple reason that when India travel to countries like England, Australia or South Africa the wickets are generally spiced up to help the home team’s fast bowlers. India, however, on a number of occasions have rolled out absolute belters and on occasions have even produced seamer-friendly squares much to the consternation of the team – Nagpur (in 2008 against Australia) and Ahmedabad (in 2009 against South Africa) being cases in point.

When New Zealand came here for the second Test during their previous visit, the pitch at Uppal was so flat that it prompted Harbhajan Singh to remark that the curator should be handed contract to lay National highways. On Wednesday, Dhoni went a step ahead and claimed that the 2010 Test wouldn’t have produced a result even after eight days of cricket.

It wasn’t surprising then to see him say that there was nothing wrong in preparing turners. “I have always said that when you go to different parts of the world, you expect to get something there (to their home advantage),” he said when asked if he supported wickets that assisted spinners. “Similarly when you come to the sub-continent -- it’s not like I am talking only about India and it could be Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh also -- you need to have wickets that turn and assist spinners. That’s why they are special,” he explained while hoping that the pitch for the first Test here will favour his spinners.

“We are hoping that this particular wicket will have something for the spinners. The red soil content is more, so even the fast bowlers will get some help. But overall it feels the spinners will get some bounce and turn as the game progresses.”

His Kiwi counterpart Ross Taylor hoped to extract some swing if the overhead conditions remained cloudy. “I didn’t see it (pitch) today, I saw it yesterday. Obviously the overhead conditions might play a bit of a part.”

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