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Stop this pitch talk!

Updated on: 05 February,2023 07:29 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sunil Gavaskar |

A country where a Test match finishes in two days has no leg to stand on and moan about Indian pitches. The Brisbane game against SA finished in a couple of days

Stop this pitch talk!

South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada evades a rising delivery on Day Two of the first Test against Australia at Brisbane in December. Pic/Getty Images

Sunil GavaskarShubman Gill is in sublime form and touch and so should be an automatic choice for the first Test match against Australia which starts next week, isn’t it? There’s a catch there as the two established openers are the skipper Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. So where can Gill be accommodated? Well, Rahul can bat down the order as he has had a mini break and would perhaps appreciate the little time that batting down the order gives you. If Shreyas Iyer is fit then it would be better if Rahul can keep wickets and also strengthen the middle order. Yes, it would be tough on KS Bharat who is waiting patiently to make his India debut, but team dynamics sometimes need bold calls to be taken by the team management and selectors. If Iyer is unfit then that could solve the dilemma for the captain and management. Iyer can’t be dropped after his superlative batting in Bangladesh where along with the ever gritty Ravichandran Ashwin he took India home from a precarious situation. India will need similar grit against the Australians. 

Mind games

The Aussies have started the mind games by talking about the pitches that were on offer when they toured here last. A country where a Test match finishes in two days has no leg to stand on and moan about Indian pitches. The Brisbane game against South Africa finished in two days. It’s not just the matter of the game finishing in two days, but the kind of pitch that was prepared. With the ball flying all over the place it was dangerous to life and limb. On a turner the only issue is the reputation of batters that is in danger and not their life and limb. What the two-day finish in Brisbane showed was that even the best batters of both teams had their hearts in their mouths. Of course some sections of the Oz media made excuses saying since it’s a batters game, a pitch like that gives the bowlers some chance. Oh yeah, then why crib when the pitches in the sub-continent turn from Day one. Playing spin is the ultimate challenge for a  batter as it tests his footwork and the use of the crease to nullify the turn. There are mind games with the bowler too, that’s why those who score a century or more in the sub-continent will be recognised as great batters.

Also Read: Finding Naiyer Masud’s Lucknow

On the last trip, Steve Smith scored one of the greatest Test match hundreds in the game in Pune and this tour too, much will depend on how he tackles the Indian spinners. The series has created much anticipation for cricket lovers around the world and I for one can’t wait for it to begin.

Well done, girls 

Finally this column cannot end without congratulating our young girls on lifting the ICC Under-19 World Cup. Indian women’s cricket will get a huge boost as more and more parents will allow their daughters to take up the sport that they love. The BCCI promptly announced a  prize of R5 crores, another reason why parents will no longer think that their daughter is wasting her time pursuing a career in sport. Well done, girls and well done, BCCI.

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