'I want the ball to turn from Day 1' - Ravi Shastri in favour of turning decks for Border-Gavaskar Trophy
Former India head coach Ravi Shastri believes the current Indian team shouldn't feel wary of playing to their strengths and prepare pitches that turn from Day 1 of the Test match for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia.
With the first Test of the highly anticipated four-match rubber starting Thursday (February 9), Shastri opined that the tracks should be such that they provide significant support to Indian spinners. He said even if India happen to lose the toss, they should trust their exceptional spinners to bring them back into the contest.
Speaking in a virtual press conference facilitated by host broadcasters Star Sports, the ex India allrounder reckoned since India get served hostile surfaces when they travel to Australia, there should be no two-thoughts in playing to their strength when the arch-rivals are here to try and regain the coveted BGT crown.
India hold the prestigious trophy named after two legendary India and Australia cricketers after clinching the previous three series, including two on their successive trips Down Under, which has further spiced up the longstanding rivalry, even leading both countries to announce an expansion to five-match Test series for BGT's future editions.
Ravi Shastri wants turning pitches versus Australia
"I want the ball to turn from Day 1! If you lose the toss, so be it. You want to see the ball turning a bit. Or something there for the bowlers on offer from Day 1. It’s your strength. You’re playing at home. Capitalise on it," Shastri told Star Sports, taking an indirect aim at former Australia wicketkeeper Ian Healy's remarks on "fair" and "unfair" Indian wickets.
Speaking recently about the Test series, Healy had said that if India prepare "unfair" tracks - amounting to one that turns instantly - then they will have more of the advantage over Australia, who would prefer "fair" wickets - ones that offer slow turn to the spinners and don't break down until late into the Test match.
Shastri, however, said there should be no respite for the tourists in what happens to be a rivalry that has produced some of Test cricket's most memorable contests over the years. The outspoken former player said it's the greatest rivalry in modern-day cricketing realms, one that fans from both nations look forward to.
"No question (about it)," he said. "It’s not just the cricket on the field. The buzz that an India-Australia series creates is second to none in world cricket. India is one of the teams that has really competed against Australia. That’s what has got everybody to watch the series. More than anything else, credit must be given to the Indian players for making that happen."
"Australia always had a reputation: of playing in a certain fashion and dismantling sides. For India to step up and play them at their own game speaks volumes for the way the Indian players have performed over the last few years," Shastri added.