Batting legend Sunil Gavaskar on Monday hit back at former cricketers, including Michael Vaughan and Mark Waugh for their criticism of the MA Chidambaram pitch in the ongoing second Test between India and England, saying that “its a challenging wicket but not unplayable” and that some people are always complaining.
As many as 15 wickets fell on Day Two of the Test match, including 10 of England’s who were bowled out for 134 in reply to India’s 329.
Gavaskar feels the pitch is “not unplayable” at all, as proven by Rohit Sharma who scored a brilliant 161 in the first innings.
“We saw how Rohit Sharma getting 150, and yesterday he was getting close to ball and batting. This criticism (on pitch) is pretty unwarranted,” Gavaskar said during a conversation with former England cricketer Mark Butcher on Star Sports.
“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?” said Butcher.
“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,” added Gavaskar.
“Australians do moan about that a lot, I admit,” Butcher said.
While criticising the pitch, Vaughan had tweeted: “It’s entertaining cricket as things are happening all the time but let’s be honest this pitch is a shocker…Not making any excuses as India have been better but this isn’t a Test Match 5 day prepared pitch.”
“I’m all for a good contest between bat and ball in test match cricket but this pitch in Chennai is unacceptable at test match level. You can’t have the ball going through the top of the surface on day 1 from the main part of the pitch Ie (i.e.) not from the footmarks,” Waugh had said on the micro-blogging website.
Gavaskar said that had the pitch been unplayable, India wouldn’t have been able to post a total in excess of 300 in their first innings.
“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,” said the former India captain.
“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,” he added.
The 71-year-old further said that the point that can be argued is the difference in quality of spinners of the two teams.
“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,” said Gavaskar.