Don’t doctor pitches, says Engineer

Engineer said an ideal pitch should reward bowlers for their efforts.

Mumbai: Take the home advantage, but don’t make a mockery of Test cricket by preparing crumbling pitches that could backfire, former India wicket-keeper Farokh Engineer has warned, disagreeing with captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s views on the issue.

“I would say that there’s nothing wrong in preparing pitches to suit our bowlers. Of course, I’m all for it. But don’t make a mockery of Test cricket by making a crumbling wicket because it could misfire also,” Engineer told MAIL TODAY. “Graeme Swann is a world-class spinner. Okay, they’ve got one while we have got two or three. But Monty Panesar is not a bad bowler. They made a mistake by not picking Monty for the Ahmedabad Test.”

Panesar extracted prodigious turn from the Wankhede pitch for his 11th five-wicket haul while Swann scalped four in the second Test here.

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Engineer said that the English batsmen played well in the second innings in Motera as the pitch became conducive for batting, making India work hard for the win. “I think the wicket improved a little bit later and it was rolled and the English players learned to play our bowlers well. It was a combination of both. So, the pitch wasn’t unplayable at all as they proved it. I don’t think there was not much problem with the wicket,” averred the man who kept wickets ably to India’s famous spin quartet comprising Bishan Singh Bedi, Erapalli Prasanna, B Chandrasekhar and S Venkataraghavan.

“Dhoni’s criticism of the wickets is a little unfair. A crumbling wicket will finish a Test match in two-and-a-half days; nobody wants one-sided affair.”

Engineer said an ideal pitch should reward bowlers for their efforts. “A good spinner will turn the ball on any wicket; a good swing bowler will swing it on any wicket."

“So what you put in a wicket is 50:50 – it’ll give the bowler an equal chance. If we are playing at home and if it’s 60:40 in our favour, I’ll be happy, but not more than that,” he said.

Engineer wants India to maintain the intensity in the four-Test series.

“Let’s not get complacent. Complacency should not creep in, that’s the main thing. We should not be over confident and over complacent. That’s my only plea to Dhoni and his boys,” he said.

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