Sachin Tendulkar put forward a theory he himself called “radical” for improving the strength of the Indian Test team.
Tendulkar suggested that each Ranji Trophy game be played on two adjacent pitches – a greentop and a turner – with two balls – a Kookaburra and an SG – to give players a better chance to get used to different conditions. The idea, according to Tendulkar, is to make sure all players are more comfortable when dealing with alien conditions while on tour and do not forget what home conditions are like.
“I have thought a lot about neutral venues in Ranji Trophy,” he said at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi on Saturday (December 3). “I have a suggestion which can be radical. When we go to places like Australia, New Zealand, West Indies and South Africa, we play with Kookaburra balls, which swing early. Think about a young Ranji batsman playing with SG Test ball in India and then facing difficulty overseas.
“Let us have the first innings on a greentop with Kookaburra balls, which would give openers a challenge. Even the bowlers will have something. Our spinners will also learn how to bowl with the Kookaburra on greentops. Now let there be a pitch adjacent to the greentop, which would be a rank turner. Now the second innings will be played on that track with the SG Test ball, which would also help our batsmen play against quality spin bowling. We have been too focussed on playing pace in overseas conditions but we should not forget how to play spin bowling.”
Tendulkar also felt that this practice would reduce the influence of the toss. “A captain would start thinking that winning the toss will give him only 10% advantage that is his right to choose first,” he explained. “But if he chooses to bowl on a greentop he should remember that he would need to bat on a turner in the fourth innings.”
He also had what was a less radical idea, that bilateral Test series be played back-to-back at home and away, so that the strength of the two teams remains mostly constant but the varying conditions pose a bigger challenge.
From the cricket community, Aakash Chopra took to Twitter to back Tendulkar’s idea.
Like Tendulkar's idea of having back-to-back home and away bilateral Test series…need to put context to bilateral ties. Big ????
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) December 3, 2016