New Delhi: Livid with the criticism that pitches for the ongoing series against South Africa are not sporting enough, Indian Team Director Ravi Shastri said there is nothing wrong with Test matches folding up in three days and the critics should “stop cribbing”.
“Nothing wrong with it (pitches produced for the Test series). I would hope the one in Delhi is absolutely the same. I have no qualms about it,” Shastri told ‘ESPNcricinfo’.
India have taken a 2-0 lead in the four-match series, the second game of which was a washout.
The series has been marred by a controversy on the tracks, dubbed excessively spin-friendly, even though the visiting side has not complained about them. The final match of the rubber is scheduled from December 3 here.
Shastri also rejected concerns about Test matches ending inside three days.
“Nothing wrong with that. It (Nagpur) was a Test match that was moving all the time.
You compare this Test to the Test match in Perth, I would pay money for a ticket for this game, yaar. To hell with the five days. You go and sit for the last two days there.”
Shastri said those complaining about the pitches should understand that it is the lack of technique which is troubling batsmen, not the tracks.
“It just goes to show that with the amount of one-day cricket being played, the tendency to graft, the tendency to spend long hours at the crease is diminishing. It’s only when you play on tracks like this that you realise that you got to spend time at the crease.
“And when you saw Hashim (Amla) and Faf (du Plessis) batting yesterday, you thought there was nothing in the pitch. It just goes to show there was an era earlier who would play on these pitches and people would get hundreds. Because they were prepared to go through the grind,” he said.
The former Indian captain said batsmen who had the patience to apply themselves could have even scored hundreds on these very tracks.
“I think if someone had applied himself he would have got 80-odd, 90-odd, even a hundred. The way (Murali) Vijay was playing he would have got a hundred,” Shastri said.
“(The pitch was) absolutely not (a problem). It’s on both sides. Par for the course on this wicket was 275 or 250, which was more than enough. If you get up and reach there (to the pitch of the ball) and there is a surface like that you can play on it. You have to stop cribbing and get on with the job at hand.
“For example, Bangalore was a fantastic track. I’m disappointed we are not 3-0 up. On a good track we bowled out South Africa and we were 80 for no loss. We really had a chance to dominate the next four days. People won’t talk about that,” he added.
Shastri also rubbished suggestions that there was uneven bounce in the Nagpur pitch.
“Where was inconsistent bounce? It was fine. It was only later on by the end of the second or the third day when the ball started keeping low. And you tell me which batsman got out to a ball that kept low barring a tail-ender that Mishra (got) in the second innings? (On du Plessis’ dismissal in the second innings) What a shot that was. In those circumstances that shot you avoid,” he said.
He endorsed the views of captain Virat Kohli and R Ashwin who had said India never complained about conditions abroad, while also hitting out at those criticising Indian pitches, which he thought were unfairly targetted.
He reiterated that Indians never complain about the pitches when they travel abroad.
“When we go overseas we don’t have any choices. Why would you complain? I don’t see anyone complaining, it’s only some of them who have never played the game who are complaining.
“Let them (former Australian cricketers) sit in Australia and talk about their pitches. Tell them not to waste their time about Indian tracks. Come and play here,” he asserted.
The former batsman asked how could a pitch, which offers seam from day one, can be considered better than the one which aids spin.
“What happened in Nottingham when the game got over in two days? Where did you see breaking up into a nice wicket and fifth day turn? This (Nagpur Test) at least went for more than three days.
“Which rule tells me that a ball can’t turn on day one? Where does it tell me in the rulebook it can only swing and seam? Here, at times, I think unless you play on these tracks you won’t know how to play on these tracks,” he said.
“It’s how you adapt and adjust. Sometimes a ball turns on day one but then it flattens out on day two and three. Who says that you should get 400 on a track? I have always believed par for a first-innings score is 300-250.”