Test cricket is under a lot of scrutiny these days, and, at the very least, needs sporting pitches to make it interesting. The Ahmedabad Test got a little interesting only because India lost four wickets in the first half hour of the first day. Otherwise, the match would have been a dead affair by Day Three.
It was just like the Test against South Africa at the same venue. That match produced a result due to India’s capitulation within the first two hours on the first day. That didn’t happen this time around, thanks to Rahul Dravid’s knock, though the Test ended in a dreary draw.
I seriously can’t understand why such tracks are still being prepared. In the present day and age, the rage is the shorter formats and if you start offering such pitches, Test cricket’s ultimate charm of producing a result after five days of battle will die and so will the format.
Let’s be clear here. It’s called Test cricket because it’s meant to be a test of skills between bat and ball. If you take the bowlers out of the equation, then there’s no test whatsoever.
I do understand that as international cricketers these guys are expected to adjust to all sorts of conditions, including flat ones. But when you see the world’s leading spinner, Muttiah Muralitharan, struggle to get any purchase from the wicket on Day Five, it signifies indifference from the powers that be. It is time the people concerned look into these things and take corrective measures.
Yes, the trend is to prepare pitches good enough to last five days, and I have no arguments against that. But it needs to be challenging, otherwise the very purpose of having it last all five days will be lost.
When I say ‘bring on a good pitch’, I am not asking for one that starts turning from day one. It should have a bit of pace and a bit of bounce, which will help the pacers and spinners alike. The Ahmedabad wicket was so slow that even when the batsmen were beaten in the air, they had time to adjust. I can understand a pitch slowing down as the game progresses but if it is slow to start with, then it’s just not on.
As far as Rahul is concerned, he batted brilliantly under pressure.