Former Indian spinner Pragyan Ojha slammed critics of the Ahmedabad pitch on which India thrashed England by 10 wickets on the second day to go up 2-1 in their four-Test series.
India’s win at the Narendra Modi Stadium has knocked England out of the race for the ICC World Test Championship (WTC). English cricket experts and former cricketers like Kevin Pietersen, Michael Vaughan, Simon Hughes and David Lloyd have criticised the pitch on which spinners dominated.
However, Pragyan Ojha has called out, what he believes is their hypocrisy, and questioned why seaming tracks where Tests often finish inside 2-3 days aren’t considered poor. Citing the reference of the Nottingham Ashes Test of 2015, Pragyan Ojha told Sports Today:
“Please talk about Stuart Broad’s 8 for 15, the wicket that he was bowling on in that match. What kind of a wicket was that? If the Test finishes in 2 or 3 days in seaming conditions where there is grass, that’s absolutely fine. But the moment it starts turning and bouncing, that’s when you say it’s not a 5-day wicket or a Test-match wicket."
“Definition of a Test match is - you have to be tested on any surface. It is not written that you will be tested on seaming track and not on tracks which are assisting the spinners.”
Indian bowlers were brilliant: Pragyan Ojha
Electing to bat, England looked good at 74 for 2 before they were cleaned up for 112. In fact, the visitors managed an aggregate of just 193 runs in the pink-ball Test. The first innings script wasn’t too different for India as well. From 99 for 3, the hosts collapsed to 145 all out.
Pragyan Ojha believes that the Indian spinners bowled better lines and lengths on the turning surface than their English counterparts.
“Our bowlers were brilliant, but if you see the line and length, every ball that Ashwin and Axar were bowling, it was hitting the stumps. When you’re playing on a turning or seaming track, when you see the ball jumping and turning, it is easy for you to get distracted."
“But our bowlers, they focussed on the line and length, that’s when you get the LBW, and that’s when the ball which turns away or comes in will be more effective,” added Pragyan Ojha, a left-arm spinner, who played 24 Tests and claimed 112 wickets for India between 2009 and 2013."
A draw or a win in the final Test at Ahmedabad from March 4 will guide India to the WTC final against New Zealand in June.