Wouldn’t Want to Play on as Helpful Pitches in England: Joe Root

Joe Root answers questions on the Motera pitch after England’s 10 wicket loss to India in the third Test.

3 min read

Just five sessions of play and the pink-ball Test between India and England at the Narendra Modi stadium in Motera was the shortest Test match played since 1935, as India took a 2-1 lead with the 10 wicket win on Thursday.

Experts and former players have criticised the pitch while the players who actually played the game have mostly refrained from commenting on it while Indian captain Virat Kohli actually went as far as to call it a ‘good batting wicket’.

"To be honest, I don't think the quality of batting was at all up to standard from both team. The ball was coming on nicely yesterday and the odd ball was turning and it was a good wicket to bat on in the first innings. The batting was below-par from both sides," said Kohli after the game.

Rohit Sharma of India and Shubman Gill of India coming out after winning the match during day two of the third PayTM test match between India and England.
(Photo: BCCI)

His English counterpart Joe Root had a similar review of the pitch, refusing to criticise the 22 yards and instead putting the onus on the ICC to step in in such situations.

‘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,” he said in the post-match virtual press conference.

Joe Root picked his career’s first five-wicket haul during the third Test against India at Ahmedabad.
(Photo: BCCI)

Root also said he empathised with the fans at the newly renovated Narendra Modi stadium who had come out to see a good cricket contest and instead saw the match finish in two days.

‘Let's not hide away from the fact that we've been out-played again, on this surface. It's a real shame because it's a fantastic stadium and there's 60,000 people who have come to watch a brilliant iconic test match and I feel for them. You know, they've come to watch Virat Kohli face Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad or Jack Leach and they've instead had to watch me get wickets on there which shouldn't be the case. The fact of the matter is it was it was challenging for both sides and as a player all you can do is play what's in front of you,’ he said.

Root was also 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, and the English Test skipper then 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.

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