Dhoni, Waqar, Malinga unhappy with pitches in Asia Cup

Published March 1, 2016
Indian cricketer Hardik Pandya celebrates dismissing Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik during the Asia Cup T20 in Dhaka on February 27, 2016. — AFP
Indian cricketer Hardik Pandya celebrates dismissing Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik during the Asia Cup T20 in Dhaka on February 27, 2016. — AFP

DHAKA: Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sri Lankan skipper Lasith Malinga and Pakistan’s head coach Waqar Younis feel that green top pitches in Bangladesh are hardly ideal preparation for the upcoming World T20 since most of the batsmen are struggling in the on-going Asia Cup.

The round-robin clashes in the Asia Cup competition here have been played on a surface that has surprisingly assisted pace bowlers more. The green tops have made life difficult for the batsmen with the bowlers calling the shots. Barring India’s Rohit Sharma, who hit a stellar 83 against Bangladesh, none of his team-mates have even crossed 50 in the tournament so far. While Virat Kohli came up with a fighting 49 against Pakistan, others in the batting line-up have found the going tough.

The big question that arises is that can this be termed an ideal preparation for the participating teams ahead of World T20 to be played in India? Skipper Dhoni doesn’t seem to think so.

“Against Bangladesh we struggled to reach 166 in the first match, and in fact would have got to only 140 had Rohit and Hardik Pandya not batted brilliantly,” said Dhoni.

“Other than that there have been low-scoring games which I feel is not good. We thought it would be good practice ahead of the World T20, but it’s not in terms of hitting.”

“The reason people love this format is because of the sixes and fours, so, you don’t want teams scoring 80s and 100s,” Dhoni pointed out.

Pakistan’s head coach Waqar Younis concurred with Dhoni’s views that the pitches haven’t been the best advertisement for T20 cricket.

“The wickets have been difficult for the batsmen here. They are not ideal for strokeplay which is the main attraction in T20 games,” said Waqar. “However, as international sides you need to adapt to different conditions. Unfortunately, our batsmen couldn’t do so against India, but we will have to pull ourselves up.”

Sri Lankan skipper Lasith Malinga felt some help for the batsmen would do the teams a world of good in Asia Cup.”There should be a good contest between bat and ball. At the moment, that’s not what is happening,” he said.

“Fans come to the stadium to watch exhilarating batsmanship in this format, but instead they have seen the top players struggling and not able to find their feet which is a bit disappointing,” said Malinga.

Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2016

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