Ever since the beginning of the first Test of the series, pitches have been the talk of the town. The series opener was played on a flat surface which garnered its share of criticism. Following it up, the last two Test matches have been played on spinning tracks and England has struggled to make a stand on them. This has led the English media and former players to hit out at the BCCI and Indian cricket team. From labeling the pitches as ‘a sandpit’ and ‘unplayable’ to lashing out at the ICC, the storm has kept on getting stronger.
With only hours away from the fourth Test, Indian captain Virat Kohli opened up on the controversy. Kohli feels that spinning tracks have always been under fire when compared to seaming tracks. He is further disappointed in how the public and Indian media houses have been swayed by the narratives of the English media.
“I totally believe that. There is always too much noise and conversation about spinning tracks. I am sure if our media is in a space to contradict those views or present those views which say it is unfair to criticise just spinning tracks then I think it will be a balanced conversation. The unfortunate part is that everyone plays along with that narrative and they keeping making it news till the time it is relevant,” said Kohli during a virtual press conference.
“Then a Test match happens, if it finishes on day four and five, nobody says anything, but if it finishes inside two-three days, everyone pounces on the same issue, it becomes the issue everyone is talking about.”
“Teams get bundled out for 40-45 on seaming tracks, nobody talks about that” – Virat Kohli
The Indian skipper recalled how India struggled to negotiate a seaming ball in New Zealand on their last tour. Referring to the first Test of the series, Kohli points out how none of the Indian media houses nor the players blamed the pitch after getting outplayed in three days. He asserts that it has been the reason why India has been successful lately, they don’t “crib” about the uncontrollable.
“We lost in New Zealand on day three in just 36 overs, I am sure nobody of our people wrote about the pitch, it was all about how India played badly in New Zealand and none of the pitches were criticised,” he added. “Nobody saw how much the ball was doing and how the ball was moving and how much grass was there on the wicket. The reason behind our success is that we never crib about the pitches we play on. We will continue that as a team.”
“It is always been the case that spinning tracks come into focus way more when teams get bundled out for 40-45 on seaming tracks, nobody talks about that. It is always about bad batting then, we need to be honest to ourselves from where we are talking and what is the idea behind continuing this narrative and what serves the people by talking about this narrative.“
The four-match series is currently being led by India (2-1) and the hosts just need to win or draw the final Test to qualify for the final of the World Test Championship (WTC). On the other hand, England is out of WTC’s final contention. And they would be playing just to level the four-match series.