Perth: India's limited-overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni yesterday stood firmly behind Test skipper Virat Kohli stating that "all hell only breaks loose when wickets offer turn" and the ones on which batsmen are hit on their head are considered "good tracks".
MS Dhoni. Pic/AFP
Kohli and the team management were taken apart by the detractors for playing on rank turners against South Africa in the home series last year and Dhoni was asked a question in that context about the WACA strip that will have bounce. Dhoni gave an elaborate answer wherein he made it clear that one should enjoy the challenge of playing in different conditions.
"Agar aap dekhein toh, hahakar tabhi machti hai jab wicket ghoom raha hota hai. Kisi ke sar pe maar do toh usko accha wicket maana jaata hai. (You will find that all hell breaks loose only when there is turn on offer from the track. If the batsman gets hit on the head (on bouncy tracks) then it is considered to be a good wicket)," the sarcasm in his voice was not lost on anyone as some former Aussie legends had also criticised the Nagpur track which gave a two-and-a-half-day finish in India's favour against the Proteas.
"Again, why would I expect a spinning track in Australia? If I have to play on turners, I will get that in India. The speciality of Australian tracks is their bounce and it is also a kind of challenge we should accept." "It's not only about the pitch but it's their (Australia's) strength. Even when they came to India, they played four pacers in Tests. All over Australia you will find pitches that assist the fast bowlers, but the spinners also get a bit more bounce."
Not one to get swayed by emotions, Dhoni put talks about this being a grudge series against Aussies, who beat India in the World Cup semifinal last year, to rest by stating that strong words like "revenge" or "hate" should not exist in cricket. "When it comes to sport and especially cricket, I don't think revenge is a word that should be used or for that matter hate. On one hand you say it is a gentleman's game, so it becomes conflicting.
"You want to compete and win games as you are representing your country but you also want to follow the guidelines in terms of 'Spirit of the Game'. It starts with basics. I don't consider it as revenge but we would like to do well and get a lot out of this series."
He also made it clear that the only place in the middle-order that he can swap with either among Gurkeerat Singh Mann or Manish Pandey is the No 5 slot. "The only position I can trade is No 5. Because if I sent them at No 6, on a good day, they will score 30-odd and on bad days, they will score 10. So, after 15 matches, their average will be around 15 and the media would start asking questions as to why the player is not being dropped.
"No 6 or No 7 is an extremely difficult position to bat and I don't remember more than two or three cricketers in history of Indian cricket being successful at that position. In sub-continent, they would not get to bat long, only here if early wickets fall, they will get a chance to bat."