India will take on Australia in a four-match Test series, which begins at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium in Nagpur from February 9. In the build-up to the series, there has been plenty of chat about pitches. Speaking during a virtual press conference organized by Star Sports, Chappell said, “What Ian Healy said that Australia will have the advantage… a lot of that is based on what Australia has done at home. They’re not playing at home. They’re playing in India. Why anyone would think that India don’t start with an advantage, I don’t know.
“There’s a lot of crap spoken about pitches. I believe no one other than the curator should have a say on what wickets are produced. I don’t think it should be up to the players, the manager, the coach, anybody! You just produce a good pitch. Surely a curator has been a player and wants to produce a good pitch,” he added.
He added whenever he asked curators about the type of pitch they thought was a good one, the response was mostly that the team must win on the fifth day. “That should be the aim of all curators,” according to Chappell.
Asked for his views on what kind of pitches India should go for during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, former India coach Ravi Shastri backed tracks that would turn from Day 1. He opined, “I want the ball to turn from Day 1! If you lose the toss, so be it. You want to see the ball turning a bit. Or something there for the bowlers on offer from Day 1. It’s your strength. You’re playing at home. Capitalize on it.”
While Australia’s last Test series win in India came in 2004, there have been some Aussie experts who reckon that the visitors have the upper hand against India. Chappell, however, does not share the same view. According to him, India will start as favorites. He commented, “Those comments coming from Australia are based on how they have performed at home. Playing well in Australia is a hell of a lot different than playing well in India. They have some players who are talented enough to do well in India.
“But the thing is you can go to India with a lot of confidence, but if they suddenly get you out cheaply, how long can you maintain that confidence in India. That’s crucial. Anyone giving Australia the advantage is talking through their hat! India have got to start as the favourites. But that shouldn’t bother the Australians. They should be going to India thinking they can win the series,” the 79-year-old concluded.
--By A Cricket Correspondent