Dustbowls will weaken India in the long term

The word 'revenge' keeps cropping up in the build up to the series against England; like a whiff of malodourous air on a pleasant evening. I don't like the word, it has the wrong intent, it can produce very short term goals and can be counter-productive in the long run. Revenge is inevitably clothed in anger and that is a terrible way to play sport. I fear too, that the desire to seek revenge can come in the way of excellence which is a far better objective to possess.

Against England, for example, revenge could mean preparing rank turners and unleashing spinners (or more pertinently helping your batsmen who can play their spinners better!). Rank turners are as bad as trampolines, where the ball bounces from stupid lengths, makes batting dangerous and produces an unequal contest which is against what cricket is all about. I don't mind producing pitches that aid spinners, where the ball grips the surface and turns, where batting requires great skill to overcome the bowling. That is fair and is part of the home advantage that teams are entitled to and which is such an essential part of touring, of playing in away conditions for the other team.

Preparing dust tracks will give India an inflated opinion of its own spinners and will tell young fast bowlers in the country that when the time comes to step up, they will be the first casualties. When India tour overseas then, the fast bowlers will have to be dusted out and the spinners will look inadequate. A short term goal might be served but India will be weakened in the long term.

To be fair, India haven't produced too many dust tracks in recent times. Mumbai 2004 was an aberration, it was bad but as bad as New Zealand in 2002 and Durban in 1996. In fact New Zealand 2002 is a good example. They produced terrible cricket wickets, won the series with bowlers like Tuffey and Oram looking barely playable but their cricket went nowhere thereafter. India should back themselves on good Indian turning tracks where a batsman with skill has the opportunity to score runs, they shouldn't have to produce anything worse.

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