Pitches in India are congenial to spin bowling and we have tailor-made wickets to support our spinners from the year 1971 onwards. This is practiced since the team won two overseas series back to back with the tweaks taking turns to make an overseas victory possible. Now talking about the pitch jibes at a time when Team India is doing well is just a publicity stunt. Even star spinners could not achieve that level of success as ICC the watchdog doing a survey to take stock of the deteriorating pitches. And with DRS in force it is not so easy to make amends for lost form as well.
Teams visiting India show their frustration and the team captain blamed Indian umpires those days after touching the shores of Sri Lanka. Players are frustrated with docile nature of the wickets and foreign teams did not bring a broom to play cricket in India and did here well prepared with bat in hand. So the message is very clear as we overdo everything and make the matter worse and this time the move boomeranged at Pune and we faced a heavy 333 runs defeat in the end. ICC match referee Chris Broad has given a poor rating to the pitch that was used in the first Test between India and Australia, which ended within 3 days.
In accordance with Clause 3 of the ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process, submitted his report to the ICC, in which concern over the quality of the pitch was raised and BCCI will have to reply within 14 days and it is a shame for Indian cricket. This is not the first time that an Indian pitch has attracted negative feedback from the match referee. In December 2015, the strip used for the third Test between India and South Africa in Nagpur was also rated poor. Even on that occasion, the match ended within three days, with India winning it by 124 runs to take a 2-0 lead in the four-match series. On the Pune pitch, the ball turned from day one but the surface was certainly not unplayable, given that Australia managed to cross 250 in both the innings. India could not bat for 74 overs in the two innings combined.
When Cronje was in fixer’s hand in India, he defeated us 2-0. Later Adam Gilchrist showed aggression to beat India by a 2-0 margin before losing a test on an under prepared wicket in Mumbai. How long we can survive like this in International Cricket? Over and above, we are not playing test series against Pakistan on neutral wickets and still boast ourselves as number one side and World beaters. It is high time Team India plays against all countries and make sure that we do not succumb to quality spin or fast short pitched bowling on pace wickets in future. Then only we can count up Virat Kohli’s skill as skipper of Indian side. In the past, India were sitting ducks against pace bowling and now we are falling prey to spin as well.
The big cracks near the stump area and the Indian medium pacers damaging the danger area to help and bring spin early from the opposite day is overlooked even by field umpires and match referee as well. On conducive wickets, we dictate terms to the opposition and this time in Pune, it was the other way round as we succumbed to spin in nearly four sessions and within 74 overs. It is indeed poor reflection of test match cricket and we should have to look for fresh options rather than going for tailor made wickets all the time.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)