'Poor pitches stopping India progress'

The lack of hard and bouncy wickets in India at the domestic level is affecting the prospects for the future.

'Poor pitches stopping India progress'

Kolkata: Dilip Vengsarkar only recently said that India's talent bank is severely limited and thus new faces are hard to be seen making the cut often.

The Chairman of selectors reiterated his views on Wednesday when he said that India haven't been able to produce quality openers, spinners and fast bowlers because of the lack of hard and bouncy pitches, affecting the country's prospects in the future.

"It is important to have fast and bouncy wickets to improve the standards," Vengsarkar says.

When he was the chief talent resource development officer, he sent several reports to the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Vengsarkar says, stressing the need for such tracks in domestic tournaments.

Vengsarkar blamed the standard of pitches for the dearth in quality back-up openers. He said virtues of a batsman come to the fore on bouncy wickets.

"The quality of a player can only be assessed on wickets which have bounce," he said.

The Colonel adds the amount of international cricket that is being played across the world, including India, affects the standard of the game as the top players are not able to play enough domestic cricket.

"During our time, we had time for domestic tournaments. But now, the international schedule is so chock-a-block that top players cannot take part in domestic tournaments. This is true not only for India but for players all over the world.

"I think this is an area where the ICC has to step in. The overall standards cannot go up unless the standard of domestic cricket goes up," said the former Indian captain.

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Vengsarkar said while many of the young talents in India faded out, Australian batsmen like Michael Clarke felt at home in top flight as they get to play on a fair amount of bouncy wickets even in school cricket.

On Indian wickets a batsman ran the danger of getting out if he went on the backfoot as the ball had a tendency to keep low. "In contrast, when you are abroad, you have to almost always play on the backfoot," Vengsarkar says.

Vengsarkar says even spinners find it difficult to purchase wickets on flat tracks as the willowers play a nudge and push game. "In contrast, I have seen Shane Warne get wickets in Australia with balls that rise, take the edge of

the bat and end up as catch at backward point."

"The same is true for pace bowlers in Indian conditions," he says.

On the forthcoming World Cup, Vengsarkar says the long-term perspective was not being compromised by putting the entire focus on the mega event.

"The World Cup is too big a tournament. And the upcoming One-Dayers too are important in our preparation for the big event."

The chief selector also feels that India need to put greater stress on the under-19 and 'A' teams as part of a long-term perspective.

A veteran of 116 Tests, Vengsarkar says he doesn't believe in prioritising between Tests and One-Dayers. "My only priority is to win every game."

However, Vengsarkar adroitly parried queries on finding a settled batting order, need for deploying five bowlers in South Africa and the BCCI's moves to link the payment of cricketers to performance.

Vengsarkar said sitting in Kolkata he could not decide whether India should play five specialist bowlers in South Africa.



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