Raju: Hyderabad pitch is better than Chennai
It's only 7am in Hyderabad and former India spinner Venkatapathy Raju is already a busy man.
The former India spinner, now an official with the Hyderabad Cricket Association, has switched off his mobile phone as he has been receiving thousands of calls for free passes (it’s part of India’s cricket culture!) for the second India vs Australia Test being hosted by his association.
The former left-arm spinner is well aware of the ongoing dilemma in selecting the Indian team for the second Test. As much as he wants local boy Pragyan Ojha to be part of the playing XI, Raju also understands the Indian team management’s dilemma.
A catch 22 situation for Dhoni
“I know it’s a catch 22 situation for the captain, but I am fine with MS Dhoni’s decision. Ultimately, it’s the team, which is more important than any individual. I believe that our cricket culture has matured and we are not cribbing about why a local player is not part of a playing XI. Isn’t India’s win more important than the Hyderabad representation?” asked the 43-year-old.
It may be recalled that Raju was part of India’s famous spin trio (alongwith Anil Kumble and Rajesh Chauhan) in the early 90s — a time when was almost impossible to beat India at home.
Raju though is of the opinion that the visitors might just find the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium pitch a bit better than the Chennai one. “This pitch here will be better and different from the one in Chennai, but the team batting first will have an advantage,” said Raju, who took 93 wickets in 28 Tests.
He is soon to begin a new innings as development officer of the Asian Cricket Council and will be travelling frequently to places like UAE and Thailand. And the former India selector is excited about his new role. “It will be different from coaching. It’s more like a managerial role that involves looking after the infrastructure and development work in associate countries,” said Raju.