After exciting final day's play, pitch expert at Wankhede slams 'ordinary, loop-less' India offie for criticising the pitch during the Test
The 22-yard strip at the Wankhede was under fire till the fourth day with players contradicting each other in their statements about the wicket. However, the overall statistics across the last five days prove that pitch expert Sudhir Naik was spot-on.
R Ashwin in full flow on Day Four of the Mumbai Test at Wankhede.
A total of 1448 runs (including 13 50-plus scores), a century by a number eight batsman (Ravichandran Ashwin), 14 wickets for seamers and 24 for spinners bear testimony to the fact that the surface had everything required to make for a thrilling Test match.
Most importantly, as promised by Naik, the wicket started turning from the first session of the fifth day, which consequently produced some great cricket resulting in a draw (scores level) -- a perfect advertisement for Test cricket.
Over the last four days though while West Indies captain Darren Sammy termed the wicket a true track, India's young off-spinner Ashwin felt he was cheated by it. Opener Gautam Gambhir later took a swipe at Ashwin for his remark, but stayed away from criticising the track.
Naik, who remained silent throughout the proceedings, yesterday came down heavily on all those who claimed the wicket played the role of a villain in the Test.
"What can I say? It's all in front of you. You can see the wicket behaved like a true one. It assisted everybody -- batsmen, seamers and pacers. Those who are slamming the wicket should first assess their quality as players and then make statements," Naik told Sunday MiD DAY.
The former India opener came onto to the front foot, when reminded of Ashwin's comments. "What is he talking about? He is a very ordinary off-spinner and doesn't have the loop, so he won't get help from any wicket. He will face a lot of difficulty in Australia too where they will mostly be green-tops. Each player here wants a wicket to suit his style, but that cannot happen," Naik shot back.
The soft-spoken curator, however, missed a seamer of Zaheer Khan's quality on this wicket. "Had Zaheer been there, he would have picked three-four wickets by the first session on Day One because he bowls up, and after the ball becomes older, he reverses it. He knows how to extract help from any wicket," Naik said.