West Indies great Sir Vivian Richards has slammed all the talks around the Motera pitch ever since the third and penultimate day-night Test between India and England wrapped up inside two days. England were skittled out for paltry scores of 112 and 81, whereas India too faltered in their first innings for 145 before chasing the 49-run target without dropping much sweat and keeping all their wickets intact to go 2-1 up.
The Ahmedabad pitch has come under a lot of fire, especially how England were all out for 112 and 81 in the two innings as India wrapped up a 10-wicket win inside two days. While there are those who believe the surface was not ideal for Test cricket, there are also cricketers who believe this is all part and parcel of the game. Richards belongs to the latter.
“I’ve been asked questions recently about the Test match that was played in India… the second and third Test match against England. And I am a little confused about the question really because there seems to be a lot of moaning and groaning about the wicket that they were playing on. I just felt that the ones who are moaning, in my opinion, should realise that there are times that you’re going to get a seaming track, a ball that is basically jumping off a good length and everyone thinks that’s a problem for batters. There are times batters sometimes cope with that,” Richards said in a video posted on his Facebook page.
“But now you’ve seen the other side, and this is why I think it was given the name Test match cricket, because of the test of the mind and will and everything else that goes with it when you’re competing. And the complaints have been that the wicket is spinning too much and all that sorts of stuff. This is another side of the coin guys. People seem to forget that if you’re going to India, you should expect that. You are going to spin land. You should basically prepare yourself to know what you’re going to encounter.”
Richards explained that most of the hoopla surrounding the pitch is due to India pushing England out of their ‘comfort zone’ after the visitors piled the runs in the first Test in Chennai and defeated the hosts by 227 runs. The former West Indies captain even said that India should not budge and in fact, use a similar surface even for the fourth Test starting Thursday, insisting that it is up to England to find a way to deal with it.
“Rather than the moaning and groaning, especially just recently how quickly that Test match was over. It gives England an opportunity and a chance to assess things, to believe that for some reason the wicket that they’re going to encounter in the fourth Test is going to be the same. If I was India or I had anything to do with the preparations of the wicket, I would bring in very much the same,” Richards added.
“Ever since that first Test match, England were in their comfort zone. They have now been taken out of their comfort zone at present and they have got to find ways and means to cope with what they are going to encounter. Spin in all part of the game, this is what a Test match brings. The Indian pacers have been brilliant over the past few years in terms of substance, the wicket-taking ability and stuff like that. But now that you’re in India, you are going to encounter things and have got to find a way. You’re going to get dirty. There is nothing in the rule book that says I’ve got to score my runs in pretty, classical ways.
“I just believe all the moaning and groaning has got to stop and just not see the classical side of things in terms of Indian armoury. And from where I’m sitting, it’s good to see.”