The moment there is a Test series in India, everyone starts talking about the surface. And, the build-up to the forthcoming all-important Test series between India and Australia has been no different. The first Test of the four-match series will get underway on Thursday (February 9) at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur and spinners are expected to dominate once again.
"Speaking about the (suggestion of a) doctored wicket, I just feel that you've got to focus on the cricket that's going to be played for the next five days, and not worry too much about the pitch. The last series that we played here, a lot was spoken about the pitches and all that,” said Indian skipper Rohit Sharma on the eve of the first Test.
“I think all 22 cricketers who are going to play, they are all quality cricketers, so not to worry too much about what the pitch is going to be like, how much is it turning, how much is it seaming and all those kinds of things. You've got to just come out and play good cricket and win the game, as simple as that."
Australia have quite a few left-handers in their top-seven and the curator has left the area outside left-handers’ off-stump dry at both ends in Nagpur. However, Australian captain Pat Cummins isn’t too bothered about the surface and feels there is no harm in having some home advantage.
“That’s part of the challenge of playing away. Home teams want to win at home. In Australia, we’re lucky we’ve normally got pace and bounce. Home match advantage, I don’t think it’s a terrible thing. It’s another challenge and makes touring over here even harder when you know the conditions are custom-made for them," Cummins told reporters.
India need to win at least three matches in this series to confirm their spot in the final of the World Test Championship but Rohit made it clear that the team is not looking too far ahead. "Honestly, we haven't spoken too much about that. We just want to do well in this series and see what happens.
“It's too far ahead to think about that and there is a lot of calculation and all that. So we don't want to get into all of that, just want to focus on how we can win each Test match. We are playing at different venues and different venues will have different challenges.
"At the moment we just want to focus on the game here and see what we can do as a team. Worry about the championship final later. We've got four solid Test matches to play, so our focus has to be on that. None of the guys have been talking about the final. It's going to be a challenging series, there's no doubt about it. So we want to be up for it.
“The focus has to be on that particular day and see how you can win that particular day. You can think about winning the series, winning the Test matches and all, but I think it's very important to win sessions, win a particular day and then move forward."