Australia skipper Pat Cummins made it clear on Wednesday that his side is not bothered by the discussion regarding the pitch in Nagpur ahead of the first Test match starting February 9. Ian Healy started the controversy by saying that the hosts will be making the pitch in order to suit their game plan and there were several reports claiming India were trying to “doctor” the pitch. Cummins said that it will be a challenge for the side considering the conditions will be “custom-made” for India.
“These series always throw up different challenges on the field or off the field, and embracing it is what makes these tours so special. That’s part of the challenge of playing away. Home teams want to win at home. In Australia, we’re lucky we’ve normally got pace and bounce. Home match advantage, I don’t think it’s a terrible thing. It’s another challenge and makes touring over here even harder when you know the conditions are custom-made for them,” Cummins said.
Australian cricket teams haven’t won a Test series in India for the past 19 years but current skipper Pat Cummins would tell anyone who cares to listen that his unit doesn’t carry the baggage of victories and defeats of his predecessors.
As Cummins leads Australia to one of its toughest assignments in India, the skipper also underlined the importance of a good first-innings score, which will be crucial in the context of the series.
“No, this team is very different to a lot of the teams that have played here in the past. So we don’t carry the wins, we don’t carry the losses,” Cummins told reporters when asked if past results would weigh heavily on his mind.
“We know it’s tough to tour here, India are a really good cricket side, especially at home, so we are excited. And, yeah, we will give it our best shot,” Cummins added.
Asked about first-innings totals, the world’s premier speedster said,”Yeah, I think it’s more important here than anywhere else in the world, that first-innings lead, hopefully. You just got to find a way to put a big total on the board, especially thinking if it is going to spin, it’s going to get really hard in that second innings.” “Rough will be outside left-handers’ off stump”
The Australian media has already started raising a hue and cry about “doctored pitches” with one article in Sydney Morning Herald predicting the nature of the wicket even before a ball has been bowled on the VCA stadium track.
Cummins, however, put things in perspective, saying his lineup being loaded with left-handers had prompted curators to dry areas where India’s right-hand seamers will create rough spots for the host spinners to exploit.
“Potentially, yes. Looks a little bit dry for the left-handers and knowing how much traffic will probably go through there from the right-arm bowlers, potentially might be a fair bit of rough out there,” Cummins said.
But unlike his country’s media, Cummins wants to embrace the challenge.
“Again, that’s something we’ve just got to embrace. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be challenging at times but our batters will relish the chance to problem-solve on their feet, and quite a few of them will get their chances to do that.” Cummins, however, didn’t want to predict a first-innings score.
“You have got to bat big in the first innings. It might not be the same for every venue. At some, 250 might be a good score, there might be other venues where you might need 500. Reading the wicket can be a bit difficult at times but you have to be ready for everything.” Lyon will bowl a lot of overs
(With PTI inputs)
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