File picture of Michael Vaughan(Getty Images)
File picture of Michael Vaughan(Getty Images)

'It was a shallow victory': Vaughan says ICC look 'more toothless' when India are allowed to get away with poor pitches

India vs England: They played only one spinner in Jack Leach after sending Moeen Ali back to England. This strategy backfired as the pitch in Ahmedabad assisted the spinners as Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Leach and Joe Root wreaked havoc.
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 12:40 PM IST

The controversy surrounding the pitch in Ahmedabad has raged on ever since India won the Test match inside 2 days. The pink ball Test was expected to be dominated by the pacers as it has traditionally happened. England had gone ahead and played three seamers in Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad and James Anderson for the 3rd Test match against India at the Narendra Modi Stadium. They played only one spinner in Jack Leach after sending Moeen Ali back to England.

This strategy backfired as the pitch in Ahmedabad assisted the spinners as Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Jack Leach and Joe Root wreaked havoc. The seamers were just mute spectators during the match as spinners dominated the proceedings. India eventually won the Test inside 2 days as they defeated England by 10 wickets to take an unassailable 2-1 lead in the four-match series.

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However, former England captain Michael Vaughan wasn't happy with the pitch that was on offer in Ahmedabad. Vaughan on Friday said the more India is allowed to "get away" with producing pitches that are not deemed good enough for Test cricket, the more "toothless" the ICC will look.

The match ended inside two days with the pitch drawing flak from former players like Vaughan, though batting legend Sunil Gavaskar credited the Indian spinners rather than blaming the surface.

"The longer powerful countries like India are allowed to get away with it the more toothless the ICC will look," Vaughan wrote in the Daily Telegraph.

"The governing body are allowing India to produce whatever they wish and it is Test cricket that is getting hurt," he said while expressing his displeasure with the BCCI.

Vaughan, who has led England from 2003 to 2008, felt broadcasters asking for refunds if a match finishes too soon may help change things.

"Perhaps it will take broadcasters to ask for refunds for things to change. They accept Test finishing early because the players are not good enough but not when home boards produce such poor pitches.

"They are left with three blank days but are still having to pay for production. They will not be happy and might think twice about good money for Test rights," Vaughan said.

He called India's win "a shallow victory" but admitted that the home team is much better equipped to deal with the conditions.

"India won the third Test but it was shallow victory. In fact, there was no winners from that game at all," Vaughan started his column with these words.

He added, "Yet, India showed their skill. We are not being fair if we do not accept that their skill levels in those conditions are far better than England's.

"But the good of the game needs to be looked at and as ex-players it is our duty to call it out."

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Vaughan said the pitches in the last two Tests have let the players down.

"We have to be fair and recognise that these players are battling for their careers and over the last two weeks they have been let down by the surfaces.

"How can anyone say that 250 is a par first innings score in a Test match and claim the pitch is good enough.

"Test cricket is not about accepting you need to have a bit of fortune as a batsman to score runs in the first innings."

"... If you have a World Test Championship you need to deduct points for producing surfaces that are not deemed good enough for Test cricket.

"But it is also a real concern for the game that we have seen India respond to going 1-0 down by producing pitches which turn prodigiously from ball one and which they know full well will only last two or three days," Vaughan said.

He also blamed England's rotational policy and said they deserved to be in the position they are in at the moment.

"The disregard they showed by sending Jonny Bairstow home to walk his dogs for two weeks and then go back and bat at three against Ravi Ashwin has bitten them on the backside."

(with PTI inputs)

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