India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane on Friday said that the MA Chidambaram Stadium wicket for the second Test against England is a completely different from the one used for the first Test and will turn from Day One.
“It (pitch) will be completely different. I am sure it will turn from day number one but again as I said before the first Test match, we will have to wait and see how it plays in the first session and then take it from there. We have to forget what happened in the first Test match and focus on this and play good cricket. We know these conditions very well. We have to put our best foot forward tomorrow and play as a team,” said Rahane while speaking to the media on the eve of the second Test.
While the first Test — which England won by 227 runs — was played on a red soil pitch, the second Test will be played on a pitch which is a mixture of black and red soil. The surface has a topping of black soil. It has also not been watered because the gap between the first two Tests was just three days and with black soil retaining more water, the pitch wouldn’t have dried.
The Indian cricket board (BCCI) had packed off its curator after the first Test following complaints from Indian cricketers like Ishant Sharma that it was flat on the first two days, even though there was huge praise for the pitch that lasted five days.
The pitch for the second Test has been prepared under the supervision of the Indian team management and it is no surprise that Rahane is saying that it would turn from Day One.
“Wickets are different, we need to adjust. We have played plenty of cricket in Chennai. We are (playing) back-to-back Tests at one venue for the first time,” said Rahane upon being asked about the challenge of playing back-to-back Test matches at the same venue.
He, however, refused to confirm the playing XI or even the 12.
“Everyone is in the mix. Good thing is that (left-arm spinner) Axar (Patel) is fit. I am not going to tell you who will play tomorrow but Axar is fit to play. All our spinners are very good. Given a chance they will do well,” he added.
Rahane also defended skipper Virat Kohli, saying that he remains the only captain of the team.
“Sometimes it happens, there is no such energy. But it doesn’t mean that change in captaincy will happen. Sometimes body language can be down especially (the way it was panning out) in the first two days,” said Rahane.
He also spoke on Indians dropping too many catches and bowling no-balls in the first Test, saying that the team members are working hard on it.
“There will be incidents where catches are dropped… we need to practice hard, especially close-in catching which is very important in India. Sometimes these things happen. No one drops intentionally. Guys are working hard. They all are disappointed what happened in the last game about the no-balls, they are working hard (to ensure the mistakes aren’t repeated).”