The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hookes flays Indian approach

Melbourne: India’s approach to their drawn tour-opener against Victoria was described as “staggering” by home team coach David Hookes on Thursday.

Hookes, a former Australian left-handeder, was angry the tourists breached an agreement he claimed was made before the start of the three-day match to give the game greater purpose.

Hookes claimed Indian captain Sourav Ganguly had agreed to Hookes’ suggestion before the toss that the two sides bat 70 overs apiece per innings to try to achieve a result.

But, Hookes said, once India won the toss, Sourav came to him and said: “It’s our first day on the tour — we should just bat.” Hookes said: “So once he went well past that (the agreed 70 overs) and his tailenders didn’t bat properly, I thought ‘bugger it’ — we were pretty annoyed.

“They didn’t learn to play cricket... it was a staggering approach. They treated the game as a net session.”

Sourav did not refer to the agreement Hookes claimed, but defended his side’s tactics only one week away from the opening Test of a four-match series against world champions Australia.

“That’s what you get these days (three-day games) because the itinerary is so tight... you’ve got to make the most of what you get,” he said.

Hookes warned India against taking the same approach into another three-dayer against a Queensland XI ahead of the Test in Brisbane.

“You need that game of cricket leading into a Test and they have not had a game of cricket — they’ve had an extended, glorified centre-wicket practice,” he said. “If they treat the Queensland game like a glorified centre-wicket game, then they are, ‘nowhere’.”

The frustration of the two sides became evident on Thursday as the Indian spinners at times bowled to stacked leg-side fields.

Victorian wicketkeeper Peter Roach bowled an over late in the day. “Hopefully this is the last three-day game that’s ever played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground,” Hookes said.

Matches in the domestic Sheffield Shield competition are played over four days, while five days are allocated for Tests.


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