India’s recent victory over South Africa in the Mohali Test provoked varied responses from cricketers and armchair critics. Some felt the wicket prepared by curator Daljit Singh at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium was a poor one because the Test ended inside three days.
Others echoed the sentiments of India captain Virat Kohli, who felt there was lack of application among the batsmen and that led to a scenario in which India totalled only 401 in the Test and still won it by 108 runs.
Cricket debates don’t die easily because everyone believes they are experts on the game. That’s one of the beauties of the sport, but, without getting into who’s right and who’s wrong, it was sad to see India’s fast bowlers Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron getting only 20 overs in the Test.
Hopefully, it is a one-off situation because the pacemen require all the confidence and opportunities to parade their skills at the highest level against batsmen of high quality like Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers.
It’s fine to enjoy home advantage, but it cannot be taken to a preposterous level.
It is hoped that the next Test at Bangalore (November 14 to 18) will see a better balance between bat and ball and that is what a cricket match is all about. Winning the series against South Africa would be sweet. It would be sweeter if India wins without being at the mercy of turning tracks, dust bowls.
The opinion of cricketers must be respected because they have the experience of playing the game at the highest level. If captain Kohli and the rest of his team management can put their hand on their hearts and say that Mohali was not a diabolical pitch, we’ll take their word for it and follow the rest of the series with delight. After all, this series showcases two of the best batsmen in the world (Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers), the finest pacer in Dale Steyn, and of course R Ashwin, who is peerless on home soil.