England have now been taken out of their comfort zone: Viv Richards
The dependency of a sport on the surface it’s being played always adds extra charm to the contest. It leads to factions, adds value to arguments from fans. Nadal on clay and Federer on grass are the kind of chats that form the base of tea-time discussions.
Over the years, teams from India were considered ill-equipped to play on different surfaces outside the sub-continent, something which they have worked on… and to a larger extent managed to iron out the creases.
While India got better at playing on alien surfaces, other teams did not emulate India’s approach and continue to look dodgy on the sub-continent surfaces. The recent result in Ahmedabad where both teams failed to handle the spin, led to a debate about the quality of pitches and what should the regulatory bodies do about it.
Former West Indies captain Viv Richards has shared his views on the debate surrounding the pitch. Richards said that playing in India have always been about how you handle spin and England did not their homework well ahead of the tour.
"I've been asked questions recently about the Test match that was played in India… the second and third Test match against England. And I am a little confused about the question really because there seems to be a lot of moaning and groaning about the wicket that they were playing on. I just felt that the ones who are moaning, in my opinion, should realise that there are times that you're going to get a seaming track, a ball that is basically jumping off a good length and everyone thinks that's a problem for batters. There are times batters sometimes cope with that," Richards said in a video posted on his Facebook page.
"But now you've seen the other side, and this is why I think it was given the name Test match cricket, because of the test of the mind and will and everything else that goes with it when you're competing. And the complaints have been that the wicket is spinning too much and all that sorts of stuff. This is another side of the coin guys. People seem to forget that if you're going to India, you should expect that. You are going to spin land. You should basically prepare yourself to know what you're going to encounter,” he added.
"Rather than the moaning and groaning, especially just recently how quickly that Test match was over. It gives England an opportunity and a chance to assess things, to believe that for some reason the wicket that they're going to encounter in the fourth Test is going to be the same. If I was India or I had anything to do with the preparations of the wicket, I would bring in very much the same," continued the former Windies great.
"Ever since that first Test match, England were in their comfort zone. They have now been taken out of their comfort zone at present and they have got to find ways and means to cope with what they are going to encounter. Spin in all part of the game, this is what a Test match brings.
The Indian pacers have been brilliant over the past few years in terms of substance, the wicket-taking ability and stuff like that. But now that you're in India, you are going to encounter things and have got to find a way. You're going to get dirty. There is nothing in the rule book that says I’ve got to score my runs in pretty, classical ways."
"I just believe all the moaning and groaning has got to stop and just not see the classical side of things in terms of Indian armoury. And from where I'm sitting, it's good to see."
With one of the greatest batters of the game, defending the pitch, and pointing out an error in the approach of the batsmen, it remains to be seen which way does the pitch debate head in the coming days.