AHMEDABAD: For most of the day, the playing surface for the fourth test between India and Australia at the Narendra Modi Stadium it was kept hidden, ostensibly to protect it from the merciless sun. Only in the late afternoon, when things had cooled off a bit, did the ground crew raise the tarps to give everyone a view of the field.
The mower was off and so was the scrub brush near the good length point. The wicket, as has been the norm in this series, was tightly rolled down the center with a tinge of green.
With one more day remaining for the Test to start and India’s place in the Test World Championship Final still in the game, it remains to be seen how the field is formed.
(Photo by AFP)
But there was no mistaking Rahul Dravid’s stance on the heated debate over the quality of presentations offered for this series. The India coach has pulled out his barn door like a bat to defend the ploy of churning ranks for the iconic series.
“It (tone) seems okay to me,” he said Dravid before reeling off: “Whatever the tone, it doesn’t matter. There’s always a lot of talk about tone.
“It’s the same for both teams. Sometimes it’s more challenging for the bowler, sometimes it’s more challenging for the batsmen. Wickets are like that, whatever it is, we’ve got to learn to play it.”
The last test in Indore, just like the first two tests in Nagpur and Delhi, was finished in three days. The Third Test had drawn the ire of match referee Chris Broad who rated the pitch “poor” and awarded him three demerit points.
Dravid was asked if he agreed with the match referee’s views.
“I won’t elaborate too much. The referee of the match has the right to express his opinion. It doesn’t matter if I agree with his reading. It really doesn’t matter. What I will say is that sometimes, with WTC points in play, you’re looking to play off wickets that get results. Sometimes it can happen, not just in India, but also all over the world. Sometimes it’s hard to get that perfect balance for everyone,” Dravid said.
Dravid’s grouse comes from India being the victim of overseas touring.
“We’ve played on some challenging runs overseas too every time we go. We’ve played on a few wickets in South Africa recently where the spinner was taken out of the game. Everyone is trying to produce wickets where you ultimately want to get results in these games and it’s only natural. Then, you will try to produce pitches where the ball will swing at the bat. Its part of the game”.
For the record, India’s first spinner R Ashwin had only managed to pick six wickets on his tour of South Africa last year and those wickets had come to 60 each. The hosts had won the series 2-1.
Like his assistant Vikram Rathour he said the other day in Indore, Dravid also argued that wickets are heavily in favor of spinners because of the WTC.
“This (WTC) could be one of the reasons. Yes, because there is too much prize-giving on results. You draw a match like in Kanpur against New Zealand. We took nine wickets in the second innings and you draw the match and it sets you’re back in a home game.
“There is tough competition everywhere, every team is getting a result at home. There is a prize on result whether you play at home or away. In this competition, you get four points for a draw and 12 points for a win, so there’s a premium on that.”
New Zealand had salvaged a draw in Kanpur Dusklight in 2021 after Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel she bowled nearly 10 overs on day five.