Kolkata: The Indian team management’s displeasure with the wicket at the Chepauk Stadium in the first Test is not the best-kept secret anymore - with them changing the curator to ensure that the wicket affords more turn for the second Test. The square will, hence, be a subject of much speculation when the hosts look bounce back after being outplayed by 227 runs in the first Test earlier this week.
“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 Ajinkya Rahane, vice-captain of the team, without mincing words.
While the first Test was played on a red soil pitch, the second one will be played on a pitch which is a mixture of black and red soil. The surface has a topping of black soil and according to media reports, it has also not been watered enough to leave the surface dry.
The BCCI had packed off its curator, Taposh Chatterjee of Central Zone, after the first Test following complaints from Indian cricketers like Ishant Sharma that it was flat on the first two days. “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,” Rahane said during the pre-match virtual media interaction. The desperation on part of hosts for squaring the series through a web of spin stems from the fact that the third Test will be a pink ball one in Ahmedabad, which offers exaggerated movement while the behaviour of the newly laid out Motera Stadium turf there will also be a matter of conjecture.
Rahane, however, refused to confirm the playing XI. “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).”
Catch the match
India vs England
Second Test in Chennai
Match starts at 8 am (UAE)