Shastri shields Indian turning pitches: ‘To hell with the five days’

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 30, 2015 11:50 IST
Team India director Ravi Shastri and India Test captain Virat Kohli during a practice session. (AFP File Photo)

NEW DELHI: Team India director Ravi Shastri sees nothing wrong in Tests finishing in three days and suggests that South Africa could expect another turner in the fourth and final fixture in Delhi next week.

India humbled South Africa with two days to spare in the series-opener at Mohali before repeating the feat in another dustbowl in Nagpur on Friday to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series against the world’s top-ranked Test team.

“Which rule tells me that a ball can’t turn on Day 1? Where does it tell me in the rulebook it can only swing and seam?” he asked on Sunday, in response to criticism that the hosts were preparing one turning pitch after another.

Forty wickets tumbled in Nagpur with Indian opener Murali Vijay’s 40 the top individual score in the low-scoring contest that followed the rained-out second test in Bangalore.

Visiting captain Hashim Amla could not remember if he had faced more challenging conditions but Shastri was unapologetic about the tracks India have rolled out in the series.

“Nothing wrong with it,” the former all-rounder told ESPNcricinfo. “I would hope the one in Delhi is absolutely the same. I have no qualms about it.”

He asked people to stop whining. “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. (The pitch was) absolutely not (a problem). It’s on both sides ... You have to stop cribbing and get on with the job at hand.”

Far from being worried about tests finishing prematurely, Shastri said he would prefer such results to run feasts like that in Perth, where Australia and New Zealand scored a combined 1,672 runs in the drawn second Test recently.

“Nothing wrong with that (matches finishing inside three days). 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 ... To hell with the five days.”

Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell called the Nagpur pitch “diabolical” while compatriot and former opener Matthew Hayden termed it “Bunsen Burner”, a slang for a turner.

“Let them sit in Australia and talk about their pitches. Tell them not to waste their time about Indian tracks. Come and play here,” Shastri said.

His prediction about the fourth and final Test match at Ferozeshah Kotla, one of the country’s oldest cricket venues, from December 3 mirrors the pitch’s history. The Kotla, infamous for its 2009 unsafe pitch fiasco that forced an ODI to be abandoned, is very ground where former leggie Anil Kumble entered the record books on February 7, 1999, with a perfect 10 in one innings. He captured 10 Pakistani wickets in the second innings.

(With agency inputs)

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