India vs England: 'Some people are always complaining,' Sunil Gavaskar says Chennai pitch 'not unplayable'
India batting legend Sunil Gavaskar weighed in on the raging debate over the pitch at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai during the 2nd Test between India and England. The pitch on Day 2 saw a huge turn, assisting spinners in troubling the batsmen. While Moeen Ali started the day with two wickets in the 2nd over of the day, R Ashwin emerged as the hero of the day, registering his 29th five-wicket haul.
Speaking on Star Sports before the start of play on Day 3, Gavaskar indulged in a debate with former England cricketer Mark Butcher on the pitch and said that India batsman Rohit Sharma has proven the pitch is not unplayable.
"We saw how Rohit Sharma getting 150, and yesterday he was getting close to ball and batting. This criticism (on pitch) is pretty warranted," Gavaskar said.
"Few people trying to make the point no matter who is on top, the ball should not be going through the top of the surface from Day 1 of a Test match. Is that what the tweets are about?" Mark Butcher intervened.
"Some of them are saying that - but you have a seeming pitch in England. Australia get dismissed for 46 - the ball keeps seeming all throughout. No one talks about that. It's always about Indian pitches, and when the ball starts to turn, people pose a problem," Gavaskar said.
"Australians do moan about that a lot, I admit," Butcher said.
"Yes. One or two who we know who don't like India, who don't like England, so they always be having a go at India and England, so that's fine. We ignore them because we know the double standards. But basically, we saw with Rohit Sharma's innings, if pitch was impossible, nobody would have scored 330," Gavaskar said.
"It's not unplayable. It's a challenging pitch, and that's what cricket should be about. In the first Test, on the first two days, when nothing was happening, people were saying 'it's boring, nothing is happening. It's so easy to bat.' So, there has to be a bit of balance between what is said. You cannot be complaining all the time," Gavaskar said.
"There are some who are forever complaining about this, that or the other. Yes, it's a challenging pitch. Rohit Sharma showed in the first innings. More than that, in the 2nd innings, after England have been bowled out for 134, Rohit showed no discomfort against England spinners.
"You can argue that maybe England spinners are not as good as Ashwin. That they did not bowl the lines and length that Ashwin or Axar did. But you have to also argue that who has got the better technique when it comes to batting and who has the better skills when it comes to bowling. That really should be the debate rather than the pitch," Gavaskar signed off.