Indians fume over net loss

2014-12-20 15:41
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (File)

Brisbane - India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni didn't want to make too much of a fuss but he said on Saturday the practice wickets at Brisbane's Gabba Test ground "can certainly improve."

The Indian captain blamed the state of the Gabba's practice wickets for injuries to players that he said had unsettled the team before their batting collapse against Australia on the fourth day.

India officials were fuming after batsmen Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli were struck batting in the outside nets before day four's play.

Dhawan took a blow on his right wrist and retired hurt on his overnight score of 26 before resuming his innings later in the day and finished as topscorer with 81.

Kohli, nursing a sore forearm, was forced at the last minute to replace Dhawan and walk out with limited preparation to bat at the start of the day with Cheteshwar Pujara.

Dhoni said the incident created "unrest" in the India team dressing room before his side capitulated, at one stage losing 4-11, setting up Australia's four-wicket win that sealed a 2-0 series lead ahead of the third Test which gets underway on Boxing Day in Melbourne.

"He (Dhawan) was a bit uncomfortable, but by the time we came back (from practice) to the dressing room, it was quite close to the start of play," Dhoni told reporters.

"We could only give five to 10 minutes notice to Virat to go on.

"In that scenario there is a bit of unrest."

Asked about the practice facilities, Dhoni said: "The wicket was not good for practice, I found it to be a bit uneven."

But when asked what he thought of the wickets, he added: "It can certainly improve.... I don't want to create a controversy".

The Indian team released a statement blaming the net wickets for the injuries.

"The Indian team has been asking for the fresh net practice wickets several times for last two days which have not been provided," it said.

"Instead of that they have (been) asked to practice on worn out wickets which have uneven bounce.

"Because of that two of our batsmen got injured today."

But the practice wickets were not a problem for the Australians. Skipper Steve Smith said: "No, they were fine."

Ground curator Kev Mitchell said he had never had a complaint from a touring team in the past about net wickets.

"They mirror the exact state of the Test pitch in the middle," he said.

Read more on:    india  |  mahendra singh dhoni  |  cricket

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