The India vs England Test series has been dragged into controversy for the nature of the pitches that have been offered to the two teams. While India have rejoiced as they have exploited the spin-friendly pitches to go 2-1 up in the series with a match to go, the England team and its former cricketers have made a hue and cry as they lost two straight matches, with batting collapses in four innings caused by Indian spinners. And the pitch for the fourth Test at Ahmedabad will not be any different. Hence, England are staring at a 3-1 series loss.
However, cricket pundits have been divided on the pitch fiasco, some claiming you don't expect anything but turning tracks in India just like how you expect seam-friendly wickets in England. However, others have claimed India have doctored the pitches to bounce back in the series after suffering a defeat in the first Test.
So, should home teams doctor the pitches to suit them? Cricwizz takes a look
It's important to play to one's strengths
Every home team hates losing in front of their home crowds. And hence, they will try all the tricks in their book to win matches and series. Every team across the cricketing world does that. India's strength is spin, and they are one of the best players in a spin. And hence, if they played to their strengths, there is nothing wrong with that. You don't expect England to offer anything but a seam-friendly wicket back at home as their bowlers and batsmen have played on those pitches throughout their careers.
It gives an opportunity to raise your game
When India tour England, they know what to expect, and hence, they plan and prepare accordingly. India have always taken batting failures in England in their stride and came up with better batting and bowling performance there. And the result is that they won a series (1-0) in England in 2007 under Rahul Dravid, and also won a Test each in England under MS Dhoni in 2014, and under Virat Kohli in 2018.
Even England came up with an ace spin game when they toured India in 2012/13, and defeated MS Dhoni's men 2-1 in the Test series, with spinners Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann doing the bulk of the damage.
So, playing in different conditions and pitches gives players the opportunity to get out of their comfort zone, and improve their skills to tackle the condition and pitch better.
Sporting pitches: Does it even exist?
A lot has been said about playing on sporting pitches that provide an even contest with bat and ball. But as Indian all-rounder, R Ashwin recently questioned, Who defines sporting pitches? What are the requirements of sporting pitches? Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon defended the Indian pitches smartly when he asked why questions are not raised when teams are bowled out for the 40s and 60s in the so-called 'sporting pitches' outside the sub-continent, and why now on these turning tracks. Also, he questioned England's logic of going with four pacers on Indian pitches, knowing extremely well it would turn from day 1.
And that explains there is nothing called sporting pitches as all home teams prepare pitches as per their strengths.
Cover image: Rishabh Pant stumps Dan Lawrence of England.
Photo courtesy: ICC Facebook page