The radical suggestion of Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar to use two pitches in Ranji Trophy matches to enable Indian players get used to different playing surfaces has not found favour with the Marylebone Cricket Club’s World Cricket Committee, which felt it devalued the game.
“First class cricket is about playing competitive (cricket), challenging yourself. It (playing on two pitches) will be like lessening the importance of first-class cricket. That is what the committee felt,” committee member and former Pakistan skipper Ramiz Raja told a media conference after a two-day meeting in Mumbai.
Committee chairman and former England skipper Mike Brearley echoed the view.
“We talked about that too. We talked about the conflict between using first-class matches as training and the fact that they are proper games of cricket in a proper competition, proper feeling that you’re in a real match. Those two things can be in conflict,” said Brearley.
“I personally think the committee would have probably said the same, that we felt that (Tendulkar’s idea) went too far in turning first-class cricket into mere practice matches for international cricket,” he added.
Raja and Brearley were reacting to the idea put forth by Tendulkar at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi last week.
Tendulkar suggested that every Ranji Trophy game should be played on two different pitches to prepare the Test team better for overseas assignments, and improve India’s record playing away from the subcontinent.
He also wanted two different balls (kookaburra and SG Test ball) to be used in two innings of a match, which he felt would take a curator preparing designer pitches out of the equation and also nullify the toss factor.
“Let us have the first innings on a green top with kookaburra balls which would give openers a challenge. Even bowlers will have something. Our spinners will also learn how to bowl with kookaburra on green tops,” Tendulkar had said.
“Now let there be a pitch adjacent to the green top which would be a rank turner. Now the second innings will be played on that track with the SG Test ball, which would also help our batsmen play against quality spin bowling.”