Sourav Ganguly wants India to prepare better sporting pitches
While former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly has no doubt that India will outclass England in the upcoming five-Test series against England, he feels that the BCCI should prepare more sporting pitches if they want to develop a bowling unit capable of winning consistently in overseas conditions.
"I think the wickets are going to be good," Ganguly said of the upcoming five-Test series against England. "And India should be playing on good pitches. I firmly believe they will continue to be unbeatable at home. But if you want to be a good bowling unit overseas, where your spinners come into play and win you Test matches, Ashwin and [Ravindra] Jadeja will have to learn bowling on good first-day, second-day pitches, where there is no turn, where you have got to bowl the right line and right length. And on day four, day five, the game will change very quickly in these conditions."
Ganguly, the current president of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), is, however, impressed in the manner in which Ravichandran Ashwin has managed to exploit the spin-friendly conditions on offer which has seen him clinch the Man-of-the-Series awards in all of India's four previous Test series.
"There was never a doubt about him as a bowler in these conditions. If you look at his record in the first 12-13 Test matches in the subcontinent, he has got 100 wickets. There is always a question mark on how he bowled in England and Australia and South Africa. And there's definitely an improvement on that. He has definitely got better in those conditions,” Ganguly said.
"He has continued to thrive on these turning pitches. I don't think it is that difficult bowling on these turning pitches. You see Jadeja, his record home and away is like chalk and cheese. Ashwin will be very, very dangerous in this squad. Jadeja as well. Pitches turning. Fast. Hitting the rough and turning it away. He will be very, very hard to get away. So England will have to bat very well in the first innings. Toss will be crucial. They will be looking to win the toss and bat first. Lots of things will affect how this series goes but Ashwin is going to be a huge threat," he added.
While he is impressed at how the partnership between skipper Virat Kohli and new head coach Anil Kumble has started out, Ganguly conceded that the true test of their pedigree can only be assessed by their success in overseas conditions.
"He [Kumble] has been brilliant but he has played a lot of Test matches at home," Ganguly said. "And he is going to play about nine Test matches at home in the next six months, so I maintain as I maintained with other coaches that India will continue to beat teams in these conditions. But just like everyone, just like I asked of MS Dhoni whether he had the ability to win Test matches overseas, the same question remains for Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble.
"Whether they can get together and get India going in overseas conditions. Because that is what is going to happen after these nine Test matches. We are going to go away to England, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand. And they will be tested. So for them and for me the real judgement will come once they complete that full circle. At the present moment, I don't think they have been tested yet."
He also revealed that he is a big fan of India’s Test skipper Virat Kohli. "I sit on my sofa and switch on my TV to watch Virat Kohli,” he said.