Indian team management ordered the MCA to make a rank turner in Pune, says reports
Virat Kohli, however, denied speaking to anyone about the pitch
What’s the story?
India lost the first Test at Pune against Australia by 333 runs on a surface that turned square from ball one. Now reports have emerged that the Indian team management had instructed the Maharastra Cricket Association (MCA) officials to create a rank turner and when they refused to do so, the management took matters into their own hands.
"When the MCA refused to prepare a rank turner, the senior member of the team management took the issue to the state association curator Pandurang Salgaoncar. When he too resisted, the matter was placed before the BCCI curators (Parsana and Daljit), but even they were a tad reluctant. Then, the BCCI management (not the Committee of Administrators, the cricket board employees) came into the picture.”
“The ground staff had been ordered to remove the grass completely. Things were hijacked from the local curators," The Indian Express quoted a MCA member as saying.
In case you did not know
The Indian cricket team was on a roll prior to the game in Pune as they were unbeaten in their last 19 Test matches. Many experts believed that the hosts would beat the Aussies convincingly and win the series 4-0.
But in Pune, Australian spinner Steve O’ Keefe was at his absolute best as he snared match figures of 12/70 to give his side a historic win.
The heart of the matter
There was a lot of talk surrounding the surface on which India managed to get only 105 and 107 in both their innings. Even before the start of the game spin legend Shane Warne said the strip looked like a fifth-day wicket.
But now recent reports have surfaced which state that the Indian team management wanted a rank turner and had instructed the MCA officials to get them one. When they showed reluctance to do it, they were forced.
It is also being said that brushes were used to peel of grass from the surface and that it was heavily under watered. The plan eventually backfired as the Indians meekly surrendered to the Aussies.
Though Virat Kohli in his post match conference denied having wanted a turner and blamed his team for the debacle, it was just not a pitch suited to Test cricket.
We have to wait and see who is eventually held responsible for the fiasco and whether we will get the same type of pitches going forward.
Yes, the Indian team deserves a bit of advantage when playing in their own backyard. But then you have to let the local curators do the job and the team management can oversee the preparation. If they try and take matters into their own hand's things like this are bound to happen.