When India lost to New Zealand in an opening Super-10 match of ICC WT20 by a huge margin of 47 runs, it was a real disaster for fans of Indian team who were expecting the easy win for team India as they entered the tournament as favorites backed up by 10 T20 wins off their last 11 games. After white-washing the top gun Australia in their home and winning the Asia cup against the top contenders of Asian continent it was only India who was looking extremely powerful for the ICC WT20 2016 and it was a team to beat for others to win the title.
But what came in between India’s journey towards the WT20 title is the pitch. Dry, extremely spin friendly pitches which was once considered as an extremely easy job for the Indian batsmen as they grow up playing on this type of wickets and the conditions. But since last 2-4 years Indian batsmen has been well exposed to the spin on dry pitches and the team which was once counted as the best team against spin suddenly looking extremely dull and we experienced it in the first match of super 10 in Nagpur that day.
Almost all the former players and top commentators of the game were extremely shocked about the wicket the curator of the VCA stadium Jamtha made for the opening match of super 10 of WT20. When the tournament started on 8th of march many matches of the qualifier stage were played on this ground and the wickets were extremely sporty and result giving. The pitches was nice and classy compared to the India’s game as it was totally dry and made for the spinners. The qualifier games on this ground were not at all the low scoring once but unlike the qualifier games India’s match was highly low scoring and 120 was also the challenging total.
About 2-3 months ago a test match of team India vs South Africa have been played on this ground and the wicket of that game was considered as poor by the ICC. On that day ball was turning like a snake and on the day when India and New Zealand teams came in front of each other, the ball was doing the same for the spinners. This Nagpur wicket has again ignited the debate on the spin-friendly wickets and its limits. Nobody’s saying not to make turning pitches at all but then a cricket pitch should be the surface where the bowlers as well as batsmen can perform on their skills and the pitch would help them both. Unfortunately, Nagpur pitch failed to do so and hence it’s now under high scrutiny. Even a WACA, Perth pitch which was once famous for its bounce and speed now has made a drastic change and it turned into a normal path wicket with some kind of help to the bowlers.
Few days ago, in the same test series of South Africa the hassle between the Indian team Manager Ravi Shastri and the Wankhede curator Sudhir Naik about the turning pitches is a fresh issue and we also need to question the limits of interference of the team into the works of the curator of the respective stadiums. It should be understandable that the home team would get the benefit of home conditions but it should be in limits of the ethics of the game and the curators, teams and the authorities should always consider cricket first. In a T20 match, the crowd need an absolute entertainment and the expectation of crowd would get doubled up when it’s a world cup game. The curators should get this point into their account and should make a wicket according to it in future matches.
We can now only hope for the team’s win in all the three remaining games to qualify for the knockouts to win the country’s second WT20 title.