Kanpur, Sep 20: India's chief coach Anil Kumble today (September 20) asserted that the team has not asked for a rank turner for the first Test beginning on Thursday (September 22) besides saying that that focus this long home season will only be on cricket irrespective of the conditions.
"It is the first match of the home series, I knew the first question would be about the pitch and also the last question," said Kumble ahead of the season opener, drawing an instant laughter from the packed press conference. (Fans pick India's 'Greatest Test XI')
He further rubbished speculation that team has specifically asked for a turner. "Nobody is demanding anything. We will go into the game thinking that our spinners are better. We hope the performance we produced in the West Indies continues at home as well. Yes there will be spin and opinions will be formed after the first ball. But since I am the coach, I can't think like that. We make our plans as the game goes on," said Kumble.
There has been a lot of pitch talk, which is usual before the start of a home series. However, Kumble, being a legendary spinner himself, is only concerned about the cricket his boys play in the home season comprising 13 Tests.
"According to me, it is a typical Kanpur wicket. It is start of the season, it has rained a lot and the surface has not been used much of late. It is looking good. Having said that, I believe that the talk should be about cricket that is played on the pitch and not the pitch. In the team meetings, we have discussed this only. Whatever wicket we get, we will adapt and play," said Kumble in his typical no nonsense manner.
Talking about the opposition, Kumble spoke highly of the visiting New Zealand side and its spinners - leggie Ish Sodhi, left-armer Mitchel Santer and offie Mark Craig.
"New Zealand have always done really well. They are not just good at home, they tour really well. The fact that they have three spinners (each being different from another), yes we watched them, at least I watched the two spinners out of three in T20 World Cup where they played a significant role in the team.
"Heartening to see spinners play a major role in other teams and not just the Indian team. We respect the opponents, not just in the spin department but in all departments. They have different spin variations, which you don't see often in a foreign team."
With so much of bilateral cricket played all around the world, Kumble said there is not much of surprise element left in the game.
"I don't think there any intrigue left. The challenge is to adapt to the conditions as quickly as possible. Equally the same for the home team as well. You playing so much cricket and it is all about adapting to the challenges that come you way.
"The home team certainly has the advantage in these conditions but for a foreign team, the conditions are no longer alien. Most of the New Zealand players have played in the IPL, so they know what to expect and how to adapt," Kumble stated.