Indians hope for better pitches in upcoming ODI~~s

Published: Monday, December 23, 2002, 20:10 [IST]
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Hamilton: India, with its batting pride badly battered and bruised in the recent Test series against New Zealand, hopes the pitches do not dictate terms in the upcoming One-day series against the hosts. "I just hope we have very good batting wickets for One-dayers," Indian coach John Wright said before the team's departure for Auckland for Thursday's opening One- dayer. India, who lost the two-Test series 2-0 here on Sunday, will play seven One-day Internationals hoping to salvage its reputation with a vastly improved batting performance in the shorter version of the game. India's batting was so brittle in Tests on seamer-friendly tracks that it failed to cross the 200-mark in four innings despite having quality players in Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and skipper Saurav Ganguly. Batting genius Tendulkar and the reliable Dravid, both have scored more than 1,000 Test runs this year, but neither could do justice to his stature against the New Zealand pace attack. The tourists lost the opening Test at Wellington by 10 wickets and the second here by four, both inside three days, as India was blanked for the first time in a Test series under Ganguly's captaincy. Only Dravid and Tendulkar managed to compile half-centuries in two Tests as India scored 161, 121, 99 and 154 in its four innings in one of its most disappointing batting display in recent years. "You haven't seen the best of our batsmen," said Wright, whose side has been strengthened with the arrival of fast bowler Javagal Srinath, leg spinner Anil Kumble and all-rounder Yuvraj Singh for the One-day series. "Their style and attacking brand of cricket have yet to be seen on the tour. I hope the New Zealand public gets the opportunity to see that in seven One-dayers," he said. The Indian coach said it was essential for both India and New Zealand to play on good pitches here in their last One-day series before the World Cup, starting in South Africa next February. "I think it is very important (to have batting wickets) for both the sides heading into the World Cup. We want to go there with batsmen in form and I imagine our opposition also wants the same," said Wright. "Our preparations for the World Cup will depend on how batsmen-friendly pitches are in this series. You should be able to put up big scores and I think New Zealand will also be thinking along the same lines. It'll probably be wise and that's what we are looking for in this One-day series." The local press criticised the quality of Test pitches, especially the one at the Westpac Park here where 22 wickets fell on Saturday in a sensational day of Test cricket. "It was not so much a Test match as a low-grade farce, starring an Indian side which had effectively been nobbled by New Zealand's desire to play on wickets that would not so much advantage themselves, but disadvantage the opposition," the 'New Zealand Herald' said. "The lasting impression from this Test series will be the substandard pitches that India was forced to bat on and the subsequent drop-off in the quality of cricket," the paper said.

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