An Indian Test-cricket victory on home soil always revives the age-old topic called "pitch preparation". Home teams preparing a pitch to suit their players, especially bowlers, is a common practice in the world of cricket. India's triumph in the Kanpur Test forced several critics to express their concern for the future of Indian cricket. "How long can we dwell in the glory attained on spinner-friendly pitches.
That will have a negative impact on our players when they play Test matches in other countries"-has been the theme of their viewpoint. The authorities must consider such constructive observations as valuable suggestions. Test matches in recent times are producing results.
That is sweet news for those lovers of traditional cricket. But if victories on home soil were going to mislead the addicts, then, sooner or later, the very standard of Indian cricket would reach a stage from where recovery would look impossible. It is high time India started preparing sportive pitches for its domestic season. So many new venues have emerged during this decade to conduct One-Day International matches. So more "ODI pitches", better known as batsmen's paradise, are being prepared. Converting those pitches into spinners' track for Test matches must be discouraged.
And for the domestic season the hosting associations enjoy the privilege of preparing pitches that would suit their respective teams. There are any number of occasions when a visiting team surprised a home team. For example a host association would prepare a pitch that suits its bowlers.
Eventually the rival team's bowlers would exploit the conditions better than their counterparts and clinch the issue. This has happened at Test match level too. In the 1987 Indo-Pak series, the fifth and final Test in Bangalore was played on a turning track and it was Imran Khan's spinners who had the last laugh.
In the current India-New Zealand three-Test Series too, things might have turned out in the Kiwis' favour. In the second Test at Kanpur, New Zealand's left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori excelled in the first innings bagging six wickets.
Luckily for India, its openers Ramesh and Gandhi performed well (162-run stand) and Anil Kumble reigned supreme to run through the New Zealand's second innings. In the first Test at Mohali, the New Zealand middle-order led by skipper Stephen Fleming batted with grit and determination to deny India a victory. Thus the Kiwis have proved that no team, including India on home soil, could take them for granted.