Legend Sachin Tendulkar has suggested that a Ranji Trophy game could be played on two separate pitches in order to bridge the gap between domestic and international cricket. He has also suggested that back-to-back bilateral Test series in home and away basis can bring context to Test matches.
Sachin Tendulkar and innovation are two words closely related to each other. From his days of inventing new shots to stun bowlers to astonishing the batsmen by variations in each delivery while bowling, from proposing 14-a-side School tournament to a single Ranji Trophy game on two types of tracks now, Sachin is a book of innovations.
Speaking on a range of subjects related to cricket at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, held on Saturday, Tendulkar suggested that each Ranji Trophy game be played on two adjacent pitches – a green top and a turner, using two different balls – a Kookaburra and an SG – to give players a better chance to get used to different conditions. Sachin believes that the players will then feel more comfortable dealing with alien conditions on foreign tour.
Tendulkar said, "I have thought a lot about neutral venues in Ranji Trophy (which is being experimented this season). I have a suggestion which can be radical. When we go to places like Australia, New Zealand, West Indies and South Africa, we play with Kookaburra balls which swing early. Think about a young Ranji batsman playing with SG Test in India and then facing difficulty overseas,” reported PTI.
He further explained, "Let us have the first innings on a green top with Kookaburra balls which would give openers a challenge. Even bowlers will have something. Our spinners will also learn how to bowl with Kookaburra on Green top.”
"Now let there be a pitch adjacent to the green top which would be a rank turner. Now the second innings will be played on that track with the SG Test ball which would also help our batsmen play against quality spin bowling. We have been too focused on playing pace in overseas conditions but we should not forget how to play spin bowling.
"Don't forget even overseas teams are losing to us in India. Maybe they would start using SG in their domestic matches."
Sachin also said that the use of two different pitches and two different balls would nullify the toss factor.
"A captain would start thinking that winning the toss will give him only 10 percent advantage that is his right to choose first," he said. "But if he chooses to bowl on green top he should remember that he would need to bat on a turner in the fourth innings."
Sachin lamented the lack of rivalry in Test cricket as the main reason for the dwindling interest in the oldest format of the game. He also suggested that by having back-to-back Tests between two sides, home and away, could help the longest format to become competitive.
Sachin said, "When we grew up we had rivalries like Sunil Gavaskar vs Imran Khan, Viv Richards vs Jeff Thomson and then (Brian) Lara vs Glenn McGrath or Steve Waugh vs Curtly Ambrose. West Indies team in the '80s and '90s generated interest. The target then was to beat the West Indies. Australia was an incredible team. Nine world class (players) and if 3-4 could close the game. That is missing.
"My suggestion is to have back to back matches against the same side home and away. Let us play two Tests in India and then two Tests in England. The Same set of players but different venues. Obviously, there will be some changes in terms of form and injuries but the core will be same. That will be a fair contest."