Former India coach Ravi Shastri seems to be in no mood of mincing his words as he comes hard on the so-called Australian experts for criticizing the pitch being readied for the opening Test of the Border Gavaskar trophy in Nagpur starting on February 9. One Australian journalist called the Nagpur pitch dodgy, while another report speculated on what India’s tactics as the pitch was watered and others were left “bone dry”.
A host on SEN’s Sportsday reckoned the dry pitch amounted to cheating and Ravi Shastri shut him down in his inimitable style. As per the quotes in India Today, Ravi Shastri said, “That is bulls**t! It’s more hype than anything else surrounding this first Test match. It always happens, you get 15mm grass, 18mm grass, or 12mm grass in different places around the ground â€¦ at the end of this first Test, I’m sure there’ll be someone who scores a hundred.”
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He further added, “If someone can get a hundred or 80-plus on that pitch, they’ve played well and he will go and say, ‘What’s wrong with the pitch? You stay there, you apply yourself, your shot selection is good, and you get runs’. But if you go out there and think you’re going to smash every ball, good luck to you.”
The former Indian head coach said that the Indian team never grumbled about the pitch conditions and added that nobody should be allowed to make any excuses.
Ravi Shastri explained, “If the ball is going to turn from there, so be it. So what? It’s home conditions, do what suits you, both teams have to play on the surface, and there’s a match referee who is the boss, it’s as simple as that. We never complained about pitches, in my career we never complained about a simple pitch. The quality of the camera lenses is so good, they can make green grass look brown, that’s what you expect in India, come on.”
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The pitch debate around India-Australia started raging when Ian Healy said the tourists will win only if they get fair pitches. His remarks were met with immediate retorts. John Wright, who coached India during the days of Sourav Ganguly’s captaincy, said every host nation is entitled to produce pitches that suit their strengths.