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Blame Batters, Not Motera Pitch Insist India but Critics Disagree

India have maintained that the Motera pitch was not unplayable & the batters from both teams could have done better

Updated
Cricket
3 min read
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The pitch that was used for the third Test between India and England in Ahmedabad has drawn polarising reactions from commentators and former players.

India thrashed England by 10 wickets inside two days making the match the shortest Test played since 1935. While the pitch at the ground has received severe criticism, India and England’s teams have instead blamed the batters for their poor show in the game.

"To be honest, I don't think the quality of batting was up to standards. We were 100 for 3 and bowled out for less than 150. It was just the odd ball turning and it was a good wicket to bat in the first innings," said the India skipper after the match.

“I think that this surface, it's a very challenging one, is a very difficult one to play on. It is not for players to decide whether it is fit for purpose or not and that is up to the ICC. As players we are going to try and counter what is in front of us as best as we can,” said England captain Joe Root also not blaming the pitch for the early end to the Test.

However, former players who watched the game on the broadcast did not hold back while criticising the pitch with Yuvraj Singh saying Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh would have picked 1000 and 800 Test wickets if they played on such surfaces.

"Finished in 2 days. Not sure if that's good for test cricket !If @anilkumble1074 and @harbhajan_singh bowled on these kind of wickets they would be sitting on a thousand and 800? However congratulations to (India) @akshar2026 what a spell! congratulations @ashwinravi99 @ImIshant," Yuvraj tweeted.

Alastair Cook, the last England captain to beat India in a Test series in India, in 2012-13, said that he was surprised to hear India skipper Virat Kohli's opinion on the pitch being good for batsmen.

"Virat Kohli's come out and defended the wicket almost as if it's a BCCI thing -- it cannot possibly be the wicket. Yet it was so hard to bat on that today. So hard," said Cook on Channel 4.

"Take the wicket out and blame the batsmen? We've got Virat Kohli, Joe Root, we have some great players of spin. Yes, we've got some people who have got to learn to play spin better, but we have got great players of spin also struggling. To me it would be great to have that game with the red ball to see the difference when the ball is skidding on. Today, trying to play properly, it was nigh-on impossible," he said.

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Root, when asked by a journalist if he would suggest to ECB officials to make equally favourable pitches back in England for this summer when India tour the country, gave the answer most telling of his review of the 22 yards.

‘I think we will play on a really good wicket. If we have to develop as a team, we have to get used to... and we’re going to compete everywhere in the world. We’re going to have to get used to scoring big runs consistently, we’re going to have to get used to bowling on good surfaces and find ways to take 20 wickets. That’s how you build good teams, by playing on consistently good wickets,’ he said.

Ratings for the pitches used for the second Test in Chennai and the third in Motera, like elsewhere in the world, remain in the hands of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The surface for the third Test, however, wasn't a snake-pit where the ball was behaving awkwardly. It was only spinning, and spinning from the very first session just like in the second Test in Chennai. But that is not what ICC wants as it expects the wicket to deteriorate naturally and calls for a level-playing field.

As per an ICC clause, "a wicket that does not allow an even contest between bat and ball" is rated poor. Under a subsequent clause a pitch can be rated poor, if "the pitch offers excessive assistance to spin bowlers".

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