Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly has made some strong comments after the Indian bowlers failed to perform to their capability during the first innings of the first Test against England in Rajkot. During an exclusive interview with ESPNCricinfo on Friday, the left-hander said that Indian pacers needed to realise their role in the team and should look for early strikes with the new ball.
"On a Day 1 pitch like the one in Rajkot, the fast bowlers need to come into play. That's why I keep harping that play on good pitches in India so that you learn how to play overseas," Ganguly said.
The 44-year old went on to state that the pace trio of Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma and Mohammad Shami needed to lift their games and stop expecting the spinners to get the breakthroughs. He also stated that it was disappointing to see Indians play on under prepared tracks during some Test series lately. He said, "We played South Africa. Four Tests on minefields and it doesn't help anyone. If India play 5 Test matches on good pitches and Anil Kumble gets Shami, Yadav and Ishant to pick three wickets on the first day, India will become a better side. "
“Because you don't expect Ravichandran Ashwin or a Ravindra Jadeja on a flat pitch against a good batting side to pick five wickets. They might do it once or twice, but it is impossible for them to do it consistently," he added.
Ganguly stated that he was happy with the Rajkot pitch since it wasn't the usual kind of pitch that India has been playing over the last few years. He said that it gave the Indians an opportunity to learn and improve themselves. "I am happy that they are going through this grind. It's a young side. You don't need to win Test match in 3 days; you need to win Test matches in five days, you still won a Test match," he was quoted as saying in ESPNCricinfo.
Talking about his displeasure towards the turning tracks, Ganguly said, "It's still early days in this match, but I completely agree that pitches against Australia and South Africa were absolute minefields. I remember the Test match in Delhi against Australia where it ended in 3 days. You can't produce Test pitches like these. I believe what's happening is good for Indian cricket."
"No point just tossing the ball up to the spinners and pitches which turn square from Day 1. You win and go home. It doesn't help anyone, and it doesn't help this young side," he said. The Indian pacers could manage to pick only four of the ten England wickets in the first Test match as Alastair Cook's men went on to post 537 in the first innings.