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Farokh Engineer ‘shocked’ after India’s humiliating loss against Australia

Farokh Engineer blasted the wicket prepared for the first Test at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium after India’s loss against Australia.

cricket Updated: Feb 25, 2017 22:40 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Farokh Engineer,India vs Australia,Pune Test
Australia's players celebrate after winning the match against India in Pune.(REUTERS)

Former India wicketkeeper-batsman Farokh Engineer blasted the wicket prepared for the first Test at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune. The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s curators went out of their way to greet the Australians with a rank turner but it boomeranged on the hosts as they lost the game after getting bowled out for 105 in the first innings and 107 in the second.

“I am totally shocked. I watched every ball in this game, the first ball turns square, you don’t prepare a Test match wicket (in this manner). You prepare a Test match wicket to last five days,” Engineer said after paying a visit to the BCCI headquarters to meet the Committee of Administrators.

“As it so happened, Australians won the toss and decided to bat. I think the whole thing misfired in our faces, we never expected.

“I have played in Pune several times and there are some of the finest batting tracks. I am not saying prepare a batting paradise, prepare a 50-50 wicket, which give the bowler an even chance, leave a little grass on it (the pitch). There was no grass on it all and it was so dry.

He observed that the Indians also paid the price for taking things for granted. “We were too complacent, our spinners are the best in the world, (Ravichandran) Ashwin, (Ravindra) Jadeja, they are fantastic bowlers,” said Engineer.

The difference between the two sides proved to be the close-in catching with Australia’s Peter Handscomb pulling off stunning catches in the first innings to back his spinners while the home team fielders were guilty of dropping regulation catches.

“We missed so many chances, the Australian close-in fielding reminded me of Eknath Solkar’s days. They were not taking catches they were making catches, which put them in strong position,” he said.

The pressure will now be on India in the next Test at Bangalore and Engineer advised that “firstly a wicket like this is not prepared”.

One of the talking points of the game was KL Rahul’s soft dismissal in the first innings when well set. Engineer would like to see the captain have a word with the batsman. “Our first innings problem was when (K L ) Rahul got out and he played a silly shot and that started the debacle. When you are set and you know that a fresh batsman will come, you do not play such a shot. I hope the captain has ticked him.

You just don’t do that. You can’t (entirely) blame him (though).”

“You have to give Australians credit, they outplayed us. It hurts me as an Indian. We were humiliated and this is not (what) we expected after great performances against England and New Zealand,” he signed off.

First Published: Feb 25, 2017 21:27 IST