India have been facing widespread criticism after reports emerged that the Nagpur pitch for the first Test against Australia is being prepared in multiple parts. As per a report in Fox Cricket, reporters on the ground claimed that only the center of the Nagpur wicket was watered and rolled, whereas the exact area which will be targeted by left-handed spinners was left dry. Such a step was reportedly taken at both ends of the wicket, with accusations of there being an attempt to make things difficult for left-handers, like David Warner, Usman Khawaja, and Travis Head.
Australian journalist Robert Craddock alleged India of ‘doctoring’ the Nagpur pitch. “Australia has six left-handers in their top eight, so if you start multi-preparing parts of the deck that’s straight-up pitch doctoring,” read a part of his statement on SEN.
Reacting to it, former Mumbai Indians and out-of-favour New Zealand bowler Mitchell McClenaghan said that the claim made by Craddock is “correct”.
— Mitchell McClenaghan (@Mitch_Savage) February 8, 2023
With the pitch being dry, spinners will understandably get plenty of help from the surface. The Indian team, hence is reportedly planning to play three spinners in the playing XI. However, the final decision, is yet to be made.
It is worth noting that the Rohit Sharma-led side has the likes of Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel at their disposal.
On the other hand, Australia — who have toured with an 18-member squad — have spin options in Ashton Agar, Nathan Lyon, Todd Murphy and Mitchell Swepson. Meanwhile, the likes of Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith are also available to bowl part-time spin for the guests.
The first Test will be played at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur, starting Thursday.
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