The Indian and West Indian camps seem unanimous that the Chepauk pitch will be slow and might assist spinners in the fifth and concluding game of the ODI series to be played here on Sunday.
Irfan Pathan during practice at MA Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday. Pic/AFP
Rahul Sharma, the rookie leg-spinner who picked up three wickets at the Indore game of tall scores earlier this week, obviously looked forward to plying his trade on a pitch that had gained some notoriety in recent games. "It appears to be a spinner's wicket," proclaimed Sharma at a media interaction here Saturday when both teams had optional practice sessions.
Denesh Ramdin, the West Indies stumper, concurred. "From what we saw in the recent Champions League matches, the pitch will be a bit slow and help spinners. The first 15 overs will be critical in terms of getting a good start."
Reflecting on his Indore performance that was overshadowed by Virender Sehwag's record score of 219 in Indian total of 418 for five, Sharma, who made his ODI debut, said: "I bowled wicket to wicket and I plan to do the same here."
Sharma, who emerged as frontline spinning option for India following his performances in the 2011 Indian Premier League where he donned the Pune Warriors colours, said he was working closely with the national team's bowling coach Eric Simmons to fine tune variations to supplement his basic wicket-to-wicket line.
"I have been talking to Eric Simmons regarding variations and that has helped me a lot. I am also learning a lot playing alongside (off-spinner Ravichandran) Ashwin. So, I hope to improve with experience," said the 25-year-old Jalandhar-born Sharma.
Looking ahead to Sunday's game, Sharma stressed the obvious, saying a 4-1 margin would look better than 3-2. "We hope to win and make it 4-1," he said.
Ramdin, the wicket-keeper, asserted that the difference between the two teams was not as big as the margin might suggest, but he felt that the West Indies have been unable to get "everything" together in one match. Ramdin hopes...
"We have shown a lot of character in the series where a couple of matches could have gone either way. We have played well, but some areas didn't show up. We hope to put up a fight on Sunday and make it 3-2 which is better than 4-1," said the 26-year-old Trinidadian.
Ramdin said the West Indies team had no injury worries, though some players were nursing "niggles", but expected everyone to be fit for the game.