While former England captain Mike Atherton labeled the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium wicket “disgraceful”, former India pacer Madan Lal blasted the lifeless wicket by saying, “such wickets will only kill Test cricket.”
“There was nothing in it. Had it been a true wicket, India would have managed to level the series,” said Madan, who was part of the Indian squad which lost 1-3 to England in 1976-77.
The wicket that had uneven bounce with the ball keeping low from Day One, got better during the last two days of the Test. “There was nothing for the seamers or spinners on the last two days. It was bad advertisement for Test cricket,” added Madan.
The former India coach blamed the Indian team’s think-tank for messing around with the type of wickets in the series. “All talk revolved only around the kind of wickets needed during the series. The curators must have got confused with so much focus on the wicket. If the Indian team needed rank turners, then they could have instructed the groundsmen in private. It wasn’t the smartest thing to go public with the kind of wicket he wanted,” he said.
‘Don’t blame the curator’
Former India stumper and chairman of selectors, Kiran More took a milder stance on the wicket in Jamtha. “It was a very dry surface and the curator (Praveen Hingnikar) tried his best to provide a turning wicket, but it didn’t come off. There is something called as nature as well. The curator shouldn’t be blamed for it,” said More.
Madan too defended the groundsman. “Why blame the curator? The Indian coach and captain should be held responsible. They were the ones who created pressure by asking for certain wickets. We were thoroughly under-prepared and that is why India were asking for turning tracks,” he signed off.