What’s the story?
In the recently concluded India vs Australia Test series, the pitches faced a lot of disapproval and were criticised, but they proved to make for some exciting viewing and players had to adapt to conditions. The pitch at Dharamshala was one such beauty where every player showcased their talents and abilities.
When asked about the Indian pitches, former Australian Ian Chappell was appreciative of the kind of pitches prepared for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and said, “Some of the pitches came in for criticism but they provided exhilarating contests where the fan or viewer felt something would happen every ball. The moral? Provide pitches that give bowlers some assistance and there’s every chance the Test will live up to its name.”
In case you didn’t know...
India and Australia kicked off the Test series first at Pune but the pitch was unfortunately termed as “poor” by the International Cricket Council. The next venue was the M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore which was again criticised and termed as “below average” by cricket’s governing council.
But the pitch in the fourth Test at Dharamshala offered something different; the pitch was predicted to be fast and bouncy but the conditions seemed to favour both slow bowlers and seamers.
The heart of the matter
The former Australian great, Ian Chappell, said that the criticised Indian pitches made the India-Australia Test series more exciting.
Chappell also applauded Ajinkya Rahane’s captaincy when he took charge of the team in the fourth Test in Dharamsala. Rahane’s brilliant plan of using the left-arm chinaman Kuldeep Yadav in the first innings of the Test in the deciding contest proved to be the game changer.
Parallels from history
In 2016, former captain MS Dhoni was dissatisfied with the pitches provided for the Asia Cup matches. He said that the grass-covered pitches stood as a challenge for his team and that it was not suitable for T20 cricket.
Later, in the same year, Harbhajan Singh accused Ravichandran Ashwin of getting help from the pitch curators. He also revealed that he never sought such help from the curators during his days.
The Indian pitches, despite facing negative comments, made all Test matches an exciting affair. The players had to be patient and play the ball on its merit rather than go after the bowling, which made the entire series one of the most exciting contests in recent times.