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Provide sporting wickets, not shirtfronts

india Updated: Dec 17, 2009 23:31 IST

What is a perfect pitch? Is it one that allows either team make 400 runs from their respective 50-over stints, or is it one that allows for a challenge between bat and ball?

I am not sure if pitches that allow batsmen to simply plonk their foot forward and have a go at the ball are good for cricket. Where is the competition in such a scenario and if there is no competition, where is the fun?

Sri Lanka’s nearly chasing down a total in excess of 400 at Rajkot is not the real story here, even if it did provide for some thrilling moments towards the end.

Either team might do so again in the second ODI at Nagpur.This is so because T20 has changed the mindset of the players and almost anything is achievable these days. But the fact that the bowlers had hardly any part to play in the proceedings is the actual cause for concern.

Any challenge has to be a two-way process as, once it is loaded in favour of one side, the fun goes. For there to be competition, there has to be a level-playing field.

And, just like bowlers don’t expect minefields to bowl on, the batsmen need not be provided such shirtfronts. The sad part is that I am sure the groundsman at Rajkot would have been lauded for his ‘perfect’ pitch. Had he made one where the ball would have darted or spun across he would have been blasted.

What is happening these days is, whereas earlier batsmen used to take 6-7 overs to gauge the surface and the conditions, they now take 6-7 deliveries.

As for Virender Sehwag, one six is all it takes to settle down and go after the bowling. That said, due credit must be given to the batsmen for the show they put on in Rajkot.

I don’t see anything different happening in Nagpur either, where the Lankans made over 200 in the T20 match recently.

Hawkeye communications