Tendulkar suggests two pitches for a Ranji Trophy game

Sachin Tendulkar threw in a unique suggestion to better hone the skills of India's domestic cricketers - of using two pitches with differing characteristics in the same domestic match.

Fading spectator interest in Tests is in part due to lack of rivalry, according to Sachin Tendulkar.   -  PTI

As Indian domestic cricket tries to reinvent itself, Sachin Tendulkar on Saturday suggested that every Ranji Trophy game should be played on two different pitches to prepare a better Test team for overseas assignments.

“I have thought a lot about neutral venues in Ranji Trophy (which is being experimented this season). 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 swings early. Think about a young Ranji batsman playing with SG Test in India and then facing difficulty overseas,” Tendulkar said at Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.

>Read: BCCI has done a lot for the country, says Tendulkar

“Let us have the first innings on a green top with Kookaburra balls which would give openers a challenge. Even bowlers will have something. Our spinners will also learn how to bowl with Kookaburra on green tops,” Tendulkar explained.

“Now let there be a pitch adjacent to the green top 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," he said.

“Don’t forget even overseas teams are losing to us in India. May be they would start using SG in their domestic matches," he added.

For Tendulkar, two pitches, two balls in two innings of a match takes curator preparing designer pitches out of the equation and also nullifies the toss factor. “A captain would start thinking that winning the toss will give him only 10 percent advantage that is his right to choose first. But if he chooses to bowl on green top he should remember that he would need to bat on a turner in the fourth innings,” he said.

BCCI president Anurag Thakur was among the audience listening with attention.

Tendulkar blamed lack of rivalry in Tests for dwindling crowds that has affected the interest in the sport. “When we grew up we had rivalries like Sunil Gavaskar v Imran Khan, Viv Richards v Jeff Thomson and then (Brian) Lara v Glenn McGrath or Steve Waugh v Curtly Ambrose. West Indies team in ‘80s and ‘90s generated interest.

“The target then was to beat the West Indies. Australia had incredible players - nine of them were world class and 3-4 could close the game. That is missing,” he lamented.

Home and away

Asked what could be a solution, Tendulkar said: “Look, we went to England in 2014 and lost the series. Now England are down in this series and since 2014, they have lost a couple of players. My suggestion is to have back-to-back matches against same the side home and away. Let us play two Tests in India and then two Tests in England. Same set of players but different venues. Obviously there will be some changes in terms of form and injuries but core will be same. That will be a fair contest.”

He was all praise for the current Indian team led by Virat Kohli. “This team reminds me of our times between 2000-2011. They have a quality pace and spin attack. We believe that it is the best team in the world. Soon rest of the world will follow us.”

Tendulkar, who has been promoting Olympic sports, also spoke about about some discussions he has had with Sports Authority of India to popularise various events. “During IPL, we can have athletics events and then during ODIs when you have packed houses. That will also encourage the athletes.”

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