Former Indian skipper Dilip Vengsarkar believes that majority of the Indian Test batsmen does not possess the necessary technique to survive on spinning wickets owing to their failure to play much domestic cricket on pitches that are usually rank turners. With a packed international schedule, especially for the Indian stars, Vengsarkar believes that the failure of the Indian batsmen on spin-friendly pitches such as the one during the innings of the ongoing Kanpur Test has a valid reason behind it.
While Indian batsmen have been known to be good players of spin bowling over the years, the newer lot has been less than excellent in that aspect with the way they crumbled against Sri Lanka at the Galle in 2015 a stark reminder of the team’s failure to negotiate quality spin bowling.
“Most of the batsmen in the current team would have played only one or two first-class games in India in the last five-six years. Unless they play on spinning wickets against local spinners on a consistent basis, their technique against spin will not get better,” Vengsarkar said.
While the Indian spinners, especially Ravichandran Ashwin, have been causing a lot of trouble to visiting batsmen, Vengsarkar believes that the Indian batsmen also need to mend their attacking ways in the longer format of the game and learn the art of surviving out in the middle.
“Playing attacking strokes is looking for an easy route, your defensive technique is very important (in playing on subcontinent wickets), how to play late and keep the ball down,” said the former selection committee chief. Citing golf as an example, he added: “The drive is easier than chipping and putting.”
Vengsarkar, who was one of the many former Indian cricketers felicitated at Kanpur which is hosting India’s 500th Test match in history, was especially critical of Rohit Sharma who failed yet again in the longer format of the game, getting dismissed for 35 after going for an audacious shot against left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner. According to the 60-year-old, Sharma needs to work on his shot selection if he wants to translate his impeccable limited-overs record into the Test arena.
“Rohit has to get his shot selection right. When you get out to a big shot in a Test match, the mistake gets magnified. In limited-overs cricket, if you connect well, it’s seen as part of the game. Rohit has to learn to convert his starts into big scores,” Vengsarkar said.