Neither Virat Kohli’s Indian team nor billions of its followers globally have to worry about the ratings of the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium pitch and outfield by the International Cricket Council (ICC). Whatever be the ICC’s assessment of the pitch, India’s points on the World Test Championship (WTC) table, on which Kohli’s team is presently second, will not be deducted.
India, England, and Australia are in race for the second finalist’s berth as New Zealand have already qualified for the final, to be played at Lord’s, London, in June.
ICC on Wednesday clarified that that pitch and ground rating of pitches does not impact the WTC points table, though due to slow over rates points teams’ points are deducted. India have no fear on the second count.
The ICC had till Wednesday evening not issued the pitch and outfield rating of the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.
After the Chennai pitch assisted spinners a great deal in both the first and second India-England Tests, doubts were expressed in some quarters that it might invite adverse rating from the ICC and, therefore, India might eventually be docked points on the WTC table.
However, to the relief of all associated with the Indian cricket, the ICC clarified that the pitch ratings will not impact India’s WTC points.
Below are the relevant ICC WTC rules that illustrate the two aspects — pitches receiving adverse rating, and slow over rates.
Pitch and outfield ratings:
12.9.6 If, at the end of the match, the over rate calculation determines that a team has bowled one or more overs less than the minimum over rate requirement, that team will incur one Penalty Over for each full over the team falls short of its minimum over rate required in a match.
12.9.7 A team will have two (2) World Test Championship competition points deducted from its points total for each Penalty Over it incurs during the Round Stage.
Slow over rate:
Under Rule 16.11 (Penalty Overs — Points Deduction), it is further explained:
16.11.1 Any team which has been unable to maintain the minimum over rate as defined in 12.9 will incur one Penalty Over for each full over it is short of the minimum over rate requirement.
16.11.2 A team will have two (2) World Test Championship competition points deducted from its points total for each Penalty Over it incurs during the Round Stage.
On Tuesday, after India defeated England by 317 runs in the second Test — having lost the first match by 227 runs at the same venue — India off-spinner R Ashwin said that Indian cricketing fraternity needs to magnanimously deflect away criticism of Indian cricket pitches when it comes from overseas cricketers.
“People give their opinions. It is completely fine if people give opinions. We will also have opinions when we tour abroad. We don’t complain or crib, and just get on with it. I have never seen any of our greats, be it our coach Ravi Shastri or Sunil Gavaskar who have been on tours abroad. I have never seen them talk about pitches having lot of grass. It has never happened. When people come out with such opinions, we should respect them but I think we should be able to magnanimously deflect them away,” he said.
Ashwin was adjudged the Man of the Match for his all-round performance in the second Test — 119 runs, including a century, and eight wickets.
England captain Joe Root said his team was totally outplayed and that it provided an education for them.
“You can call it (the pitch) whatever you like. The fact of the matter is that we were outplayed on it,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it was a good pitch but it made for very exciting cricket and it was not the reason we lost the game. We were outplayed in all three departments.”
On the pitch, Root pointed out: “It was a surface that spun a huge amount and bounced more than we anticipated but we should take that as a learning and be better for it the next time we experience conditions that are similar.”