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New Zealand vs India 2020 | India only as good as the pitch on foreign soil?

After a brilliant run at the Test Championship, India have been handed a heavy defeat by the Kiwis.
After a brilliant run at the Test Championship, India have been handed a heavy defeat by the Kiwis.
Aakash Arya
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 28 Feb 2020
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Last time an Indian outfit faced New Zealand in Christchurch, they suffered the same fate as the current Indian team did at the Basin Reserve in Christchurch - a 10 wicket mauling. The year was 1990 and under captain Mohammad Azharuddin, India were run-over by a talented and dangerous home team led by former India coach John Wright.

Danny Morrison ripped through India's much-hyped batting line-up to walk-away a five-wicket haul. Late swing coupled with lateral movement of the deck took the dry-wicket batting phenomenons by surprise. Unfortunately, the same applies to the present batters who have consistently failed to live up to the anticipated dangers, citing less preparation as the main reason.

Q: What is Christchurch going to offer?

The recent photograph of the Christchurch pitch has, seemingly, irked the BCCI. And why wouldn't it? A quick look doesn't give you even a hint that a professional cricket match is about to be played here in two days. Its green, cover of grass thick-enough to get into the skins of the Indian batters and trouble them again.

But the question remains, why is BCCI surprised? Isn't this the cricketing culture prevalent now. You give them a flat-dead track in India for our self-proclaimed best batters of the world to pile on redundant records, why are they shocked to see a green deck in a crunch situation. Remember the Kanpur Test against South Africa in 2008 that came under the scanner. It wasn't ideal for Test cricket and if it were, the conditions at Christchurch should be taken up as a challenge rather than scoffed upon.

Ever since India's first Test in Dunedin in New Zealand in 1968, a total of 24 matches have been played by the sub-continent team, winning only five. Just Five. A record that can easily be maintained, unfortunately, by the current numero uno team in the world.

The first-ever Test in Christchurch (India's second in New Zealand), was a ray of hope, a fighting attempt to start things on the right track, but it didn't get better with time. Under the leadership of the legendary MK Pataudi, India were shown the door as they went down, fighting, by six wickets. The first match at a venue, the Indian's were hailed as heroes, scoring 288 and 301 runs in two innings. 50 years back, no satellite, no ground statistics, and the Indians handled the dicey Christchurch pitch better. Better than any batting line-up in that era. However, the lesson wasn't learned. The next two Christchurch Tests under Bishan Singh Bedi in 1976 and Sunil Gavaskar in 1981 were both drawn. But the batters hardly seem to be concerned about their frailties and improving on their next venture. No Test centuries for India in four Christchurch Tests yet, the highest being WV Raman's 96 in the second innings of 1990.

A world-class duo in the form of Trent Boult and Tim Southee, aided by the services of dangerous Neil Wagner and latest sensation Kyle Jamieson, the number one Test team have none to blame. And will it be wrong to have double the rating points based on away Test wins, something suggested by Indian skipper Virat Kohli?

India's record at Christchurch

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Matches- 4

Win- 0

Draw- 2

Loss- 2

Centuries by Indian batsman- No

Disappointed- Yes

Surprised- No.

Published 28 Feb 2020, 06:20 IST
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