Bishan Singh Bedi has slammed the Kotla pitch which emerged as a big talking point after Day One of the fourth and final India vs Australia Test yesterday.
Bedi called for strict action from the International Cricket Council on a venue that has been notorious for dishing out poor surfaces and wondered why the rulers of the game, “don’t take notice” of this aspect like they have done to other controversies like Bodyline, intimidatory bowling and match fixing in the past.
On December 27, 2009, the one-day international between India and Sri Lanka was abandoned in Delhi after 23.3 overs as the wicket was unplayable. Within 14 months, the Kotla hosted a South Africa vs West Indies ICC 2011 World Cup game. Bedi’s heart went out to Australia’s Phil Hughes, who was nearly knocked down.
“Hughes could have been killed today. And what is our media doing? Not a word of annoyance in the commentary box,” he said. Off the third ball of the 21st over, Ishant Sharma witnessed steep bounce and hit Hughes on the helmet. Three deliveries later, Ishant found the timber and Hughes walked back after an impressive 45.
The former India captain did not agree to the school of thought that pitches in Australia and South Africa suit the home team so why shouldn’t Indian tracks. “Those wickets have their own character. Each wicket in Australia is different from the other.
The weather conditions are a factor too. They (groundsmen and Board) don’t provide a home advantage deliberately. In this case, home advantage is being stretched to a ridiculous extent. I don’t remember the four of us (Bedi, Prasanna, Chandra and Venkat) bowling on a pitch like this,” fumed Bedi.
He added: “There is talk about winning 4-0. How will it help Indian cricket when we go to South Africa? And, we must look at the larger picture. We should be looking at international cricket, not only Indian cricket.”
Asked whether he was present at the Kotla, Bedi, a celebrated former Delhi captain said: “I don’t have a ticket to go and I am not going to stand in a line for one.”