'The traditional way of playing does not work here' - NZ coach Gary Stead hints at playing three spinners against India

‘The traditional way of playing does not work here’ – NZ coach Gary Stead hints at playing three spinners against India

We will take a decision once we have a look at the surface, Stead said.

Gary Stead
Gary Stead speaks to media after being announced as the new Blackcaps Head Coach. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

New Zealand head coach Gary Stead suggested that the team may field three specialist spinners against India in the Kanpur Test, starting from November 25, depending on the conditions and kind of surface on offer. The visiting team has five spin options in Mitchell Santner, Ajaz Patel, William Somerville, Glen Phillips and uncapped Rachin Ravindra.

“You have to look and realise how teams come here often and don’t win. That’s the enormity of the obvious challenge,” Stead said a virtual media interaction ahead of the Test series opener. “The traditional way of playing four seamers and one part-time spinner can’t be the way to go over here [in India].

“You may see three spinners playing in this game and that will be decided once we have a look at the surface,” Stead said during a media conference on what playing Test matches in this part of the world is like.”

“We know there will be differences as in Kanpur you will have black clay and in Wankhede, you will have red clay. These are certain adaptations that we have to make,” the coach explained.

On being asked whether he would have a word with the groundsman given the kind of tracks England had to play on during their India tour from earlier this year, Stead said: “I don’t think I really get to have a say in that,” but added that might not be the case in this series given the matches will be played at different venues unlike before.

“Look, there’s no doubt those were challenging conditions but the difference is that we have two Tests at two different venues and they (England) were playing multiple Tests at the same ground (two in Chennai and two in Ahmedabad),” he said.

Stead said the approach has to change depending on conditions. “From our perspective, we have to change the way we play but also sticking to some of the key principles of Test cricket. We will try to be competitive for long long periods of time.”

“In this Covid world, it is difficult to get practice games but India is also coming on the back of T20s and is on a similar boat to what we are,” he added.

Both India and New Zealand will be playing for the first time in the new World Test Championship cycle, with the latter defending their title.