New Zealand coach Gary Stead has hinted that if the conditions demand, the visiting side may field three specialist spinners against India in the first Test, starting here on Thursday.
Stead also feels that their two-Test series against India won’t feature the kind of tracks that England got in Ahmedabad during their series against Virat Kohli’s men.
“You have to look and realise how teams come here often and don’t win. That’s the enormity of obvious challenge,” Stead said during a media conference outlining what playing Test matches in India mean.
“The traditional way of playing four seamers and one part-time spinner can’t be the way to go over here. You may see three spinners playing in this game, and that will be decided once we have a look at the surface,” Stead said while making it clear that Mumbai-born left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel looks like a sure-shot starter.
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Stead said while the basic tenets of Test cricket are the same, the approach has to change depending on conditions.
“From our perspective, we have to change the way we play but also sticking to some of the key principles of Test cricket. We will try to be competitive for long long periods of time.”
Asked if he would speak to the groundsmen considering what happened during the last home Tests that India played against England, the coach cheekily replied: “I don’t think I really get to have a say in that.” On a serious note, he said that the England series was a different ball game due to multiple Test matches at the same venue.
“Look, there’s no doubt those were challenging conditions, but difference is that we have two Tests at two different venues, and they (England) were playing multiple Tests at the same ground (two in Chennai and two in Ahmedabad).”
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“We know there will be differences as in Kanpur you will have black clay and in Wankhede, you will have red clay. These are certain adaptations that we have to make,” the coach explained.
Stead wasn’t too fussy about the lack of practice games as even India hasn’t played Tests of late since they came from England.
“In this Covid world, it is difficult to get practice games, but India is also coming on the back of T20s and is on a similar boat to what we are.” That’s the reason why Trent Boult’s absence won’t be a factor as even India would be missing regular skipper Virat Kohli (first Test) along with Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, who have been rested for both games due to workload management.