Gooch's rubber mat to help England counter spin in India
To counter spin bowling in subcontinent conditions, former England captain and batting coach Graham Gooch has taken out a special mat for batsmen to practice against spin.
England is back in Asia, playing on the slow and low pitches, which caused them so much torment earlier this year. They have managed only a single Test win the last time they played in subcontinental conditions after four consecutive defeats.
In Sri Lanka, they came to terms with it in more orthodox circumstances and managed to win the second Test to draw the series. Now, at some point, they can expect to encounter the slow turners and in case they do not find practice facilities that replicate it, Gooch has brought with him a rubber mat from which the ball will spin sharply.
"It is important that you are positive in outlook. You need to defend resolutely and not be distracted by the noise going on around you. But then you have to find ways of scoring to keep the board moving and put the pressure on the opposition," Gooch said.
"In practice, I try to highlight the basics - play with the spin, do not commit yourself early, learn that there are periods of time where you just have to dig in and wait. The smart ones take these messages on board," The Guardian quoted him, as saying.
"It is not easy to develop our techniques in England where bland pitches and conditions in general mean that the ball does not spin. You need it to turn to learn, which is why I have the mat," Gooch added.
Gooch acknowledged that they have largely been kept away from good quality spinners in helpful conditions.
"I think we are aware of what is in store for us though. We will find some flat pitches and some that spin. And nothing alters the fact that beyond solid defence, we still have to be able to manoeuvre the ball into the gaps and to know when it is worth taking a risk to find the boundary and break up the bowling. Hopefully we are learning," he said.