Lucknow: After India chased down 100 with just a ball to spare in the second T20I against New Zealand at the Ekana Stadium, captain Hardik Pandya had criticised the nature of the pitch, calling it a ‘shocker’.
When the same question was posed to India’s bowling coach Paras Mhambrey in the post-match press conference, he stated that one needs to ask the curator on why the pitch, which offered huge turn to spinners and saw them bowl 30 out of 40 overs, behaved in that manner during the match.
“Firstly when we saw the wicket, we realised that it was on the drier side. Obviously, there was a little bit of grass covering in the middle, but there was no grass at both the ends. So, when we came yesterday, it looked like it would turn. We realised that it would be a challenging wicket. The reason (why the pitch behaved like that), you have to ask the curator.”
At the same time, Mhambrey praised the Indian bowlers for keeping things tight and restricting New Zealand to just 99 in 20 overs. All four spinners, including a returning Yuzvendra Chahal, were amongst the wickets.
“Was it time? Or I don’t know and I think he’s the right person to answer that question. But yeah definitely it was challenging. We knew that it would be a big challenge and luckily happy with the way we controlled the game. I think we allowed 100 runs and anything beyond 120-130, I thought it would have been more challenging but we did well to restrict them to 99 and give us a reasonable target to chase,” he added.
Many eyebrows were raised when Chahal came in for tearaway pacer Umran Malik in the Lucknow T20I. But Mhambrey pointed out that the need for an additional spinner was felt, which led to the Chahal-Umran swap.
“In the last game, we had an extra seamer, but looking at the conditions, we realized that an additional spinner would definitely help. It did and Chahal bowled well for us.”
He signed off by praising Hardik for rotating the bowlers well to keep New Zealand firmly in check. “Even though Jadeja and Axar aren’t there, we know what value the other two spinners provide. It’s also an opportunity to try other bowlers as well. Hooda bowled four overs, but you don’t often see Hooda finishing four overs when Axar, Jadeja, or any regular spinner is available.”
“But credit goes to Hardik for the way he rotated the bowlers and the faith he showed in them, especially Hooda and Washy. Very happy the way they have bowled and progressed throughout the innings.”
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