KANPUR: India coach Anil Kumble+ is not a man of many words. His forte, as always, is doing things on the field of play. Having just guided India to a successful tour to the West Indies in his first stint as coach, the leg-spin legend says he is looking forward to seeing Virat Kohli and Co prove themselves in home conditions.
Importantly, Kumble believes the days of visiting teams succumbing easily to conditions in India may be a thing of the past. “It’s always a challenge to adapt to conditions (but) with so much cricket being played nowadays -and also foreigners playing in the IPL – the conditions are not alien for touring sides any more.
“I don’t think there is any intrigue left. The challenge is to adapt to the conditions as quickly as possible. Equally the same for the home team. You play so much cricket and it is all about adapting to the challenges that come your way. Most of the New Zealand+ players have played in the IPL, so they know what to expect and how to adapt.”
Kumble believes the visitors too have a good spin attack comprising of Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi and Mark Craig. “But our spinners are better quality-wise,” he said, adding that he hoped there would be ample spin in the wicket.
‘Changing formats a challenge’
Kumble is happy the team has already got into Test mode in the West Indies. “It is quite challenging for the modern-day cricketer to keep changing formats. Invariably, when you are playing in the shorter format, the game is always in favour of the batsmen. When it comes to Tests, irrespective of the conditions, we have seen modern-day cricketers struggle after doing well initially. For example, they were good players of seam bowling in the previous year but they struggled on a seaming track (the following season) because of what the modern-day batsman encounters.
“One good thing we have had is that we are coming off a Test series and getting into a Test series. In terms of preparation, we have spent a lot of time on how to play spinners, how to respond to playing spinners. We will only improve,” said Kumble. Kumble said, “They are a side which does well on tours, and the combination of the side make them dangerous opponents.”
Black Caps coach Hesson foresees ‘new ball being used by spinner’
Having played a practice match in humid conditions in Delhi, the visiting New Zealand+ side are ready to brave similar weather conditions in Kanpur during the opening Test. Black Caps coach Mike Hesson said here after his team had a strenuous two-hour session at nets that the three-Test series will be a “challenging one”.
“We are prepared for the harsh conditions. Humidity will be a worry for the side. We will have to adapt well to do well here,” he said. Asked about the extent of India’s ‘home’ advantage – particularly the pitches – Hesson said: “Conditions do matter as statistics say that most of the time the home team wins.” He admitted the Kiwis were ready for a trial by spin. “We can also foresee the new ball being used by a spinner. We can also create chances with our spin. But our spinners will have to bowl well.”