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South Africa Coach Criticizes Newlands Pitch, Highlights Luck Over Skill in India Series
By CricShots - Jan 5, 2024 6:01 pm
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South Africa’s head coach, Shukri Conrad, expressed disappointment with the Newlands pitch, describing it as “not great” after the second Test between South Africa and India, which ended as the shortest Test match in history. India secured a seven-wicket victory, and the match concluded in just 106.2 overs, spanning a day and a session.

South Africa coach
South Africa coach, Shukri Conrad

Conrad, a former Western Province cricketer, didn’t mince his words about the quality of the pitch, emphasizing the reliance on luck rather than skill. He criticized the state of Test cricket ethics and values, expressing frustration over the brevity of the match.

“I don’t know what people want me to say. You only need to look at the scores. 1.5-day Test match! You need to look at how they chased 80 (79). Sad state when you need more luck than skill. All the ethics and values of Test cricket go out the window,” South Africa coach remarked, venting his disappointment at the conclusion of the series, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

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As an insider, Conrad provided insights into the condition of the pitch, acknowledging that the wicket wasn’t up to standard. He sympathized with the chief curator of Newlands, Braam Mong, suggesting that he might have over-prepared the surface.

 

Despite criticizing the pitch, Conrad acknowledged Mong’s character and indicated that mistakes happen, emphasizing the need for learning from the experience.

“Aiden is a good guy. Sometimes good guys do bad things or make mistakes. This doesn’t make him a rubbish groundsman. There will be a lot of learnings for him. I might pop in here and have a word with him to see what he is seeing. You have to feel for the groundsmen too. He wants to get it right too… so the wicket might be over-prepared. Take it on the chin,” South Africa coach said, showing empathy for the challenges faced by the groundsmen.

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Reflecting on the match, South African batsman Aiden Markram acknowledged the difficulty of playing in tough conditions. Despite scoring a century, he highlighted the team’s unacceptable first-innings total of 55 and the challenge of coming back from such a situation. Markram stressed the importance of partnerships and the need to maximize scoring opportunities in challenging conditions.