Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar expressed that the pitches in New Zealand have become more batting-friendly in recent times. Tendulkar, who had a record five New Zealand tours since 1990, thinks that the tracks have become high-scoring hard ones from seaming tracks.
“Of late, the Tests in New Zealand have been high scoring and surfaces have changed,” Sachin Tendulkar told PTI during an exclusive interview.
India will play five Twenty20 Internationals, three One Day Internationals and two Tests against New Zealand which will start with the T20 format on January 24. From 2002 to 2009, when India used to play ODIs and Tests on green tops, India registered only their second Test series in 32 years, Tendulkar was present in New Zealand at that time.
“I remember when we played in 2009, the Hamilton pitch was different compared to other pitches. Other pitches got harder (Wellington and Napier) but not Hamilton. It remained soft. But Napier became hard with passage of time (where Gautam Gambhir scored an epic match-saving 12-hour hundred in 2009). So, from my first tour (in 1990 till 2009), I realised pitches got harder with passage of time,” added Sachin Tendulkar
However, he is confident that the Indian bowling attack, led by Jasprit Bumrah, has the ability to trouble New Zealand. But the breeze factor has to be considered there. Even Tendulkar also wants the team to be prepared well against the breeze factor in Wellington,
“We have a good bowling attack with quality fast bowlers as well as spinners. I believe we have the ammunition to compete in New Zealand. Wellington, I have played and it makes a huge difference if you are bowling with the wind or against the wind. The batsman needs to be judicious in the choice of which end he wants to attack, it is very important,” added the batting legend.
However, he also gave his suggestion. He said that he would prefer spinners rather than pacers to bowl against the breeze.
“…the seamers bowling against the strong breeze need to be smart. So I would prefer that if there is a strong breeze, let the spinner bowl from that end and from the opposite end, the fast bowler bowls with the breeze behind him,” he said.
Moreover, he is confident that Rohit Sharma will play the key role in the Tests as well which will be played at the last of the series.
“The challenge would be to go out and open in different conditions. I think Rohit had opened in New Zealand in ODIs and has been there quite a few times, he knows the conditions well. Eventually, Test cricket is Test cricket,” he said. “But all depends on the surfaces that they provide. If they provide green tops, then it’s a challenge.”
Meanwhile, India wouldn’t get the service of their key player Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Deepak Chahar in limited-overs series. But they have Jasprit Bumrah in their kitty so Sachin Tendulkar is not ready to press the panic button so early.
“Injuries are part and parcel of the game when you play and push your body to the limits. When you play for your country you need to give your best and while you give your best, you can get injured. That’s okay,” he concluded.