Mohammad Azharuddin’s interesting idea to help batsmen on ‘rank turners’

Batsmen from both India and England struggled on the spinning surface of the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, the venue which hosted the third Test of the series.
Mohammad Azharuddin

Batsmen from both India and England struggled on the spinning surface of the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, the venue which hosted the third Test of the series. The Day/Night Test would see England post totals of 112 and 81, while India were all out for 145 in their first innings.

19 of the 20 England wickets to fall went to R Ashwin, Axar Patel and Washington Sundar combined. Left-arm spinner Axar Patel picked up 11 wickets in the match, while Ashwin wasn’t far behind with seven scalps, ensuring the match ended inside two days. While all the talk continues to be around the pitch, former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin has come up with an interesting idea that can help batsmen prosper even on spinning surfaces as the one in Ahmedabad.

“It was disappointing to watch the batsmen come a cropper in the Ahmedabad Test. The key to batting on such dry tracks and rank turners is shot-selection and assured footwork. It makes little sense to wear spikes when batting. Rubber soles don’t hamper ability of batsmen,” Azharuddin tweeted.

The former batsman, who played 99 Tests for India between 1984 and 2000, reckons batting with rubber shoes does not have serious implications as many might think. He gave examples of some of the finest batsmen around the world who have played important and memorable knocks without batting with spikes on their shoes.

“I have seen some amazing Test knocks being played on tough surfaces by batsmen who wore shoes with rubber soles. The argument that batsmen can slip when running between wickets is countered by the fact that in Wimbledon, all tennis players wear shoes with rubber soles,” Azharuddin added.

“And the ones that come to mind are not just Indians like Sunil Gavaskar Mohinder Amarnath and Dilip Vengsarkar but also many a visiting batsman like Sir Vivian Richards, Mike Gatting, Allan Border, Clive Lloyd and several others.”

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