From a turner to a rank turner to a two-faced turner – the series has implored global theories, ranging from horticulture and pedology, to invoking the spirit of the game and unfair use of home advantage. Last heard, the International Cricket Council (ICC) was left beseeched by e-mails from cricket media demanding to know if the pitch at Ahmedabad would be rated ‘poor’ or not.
Be it Ashwin, Rohit Sharma or captain Virat Kohli, they saw no problems whatsoever in the track that was dished out for the third Test match in Ahmedabad. TOI, in fact, understands that the track for the fourth Test, at the same venue, will be no different.
The pitch for the fourth Test starting on Thursday, sported a generous tinge of green but one expects the mower to work overtime over the next three days to make it look brown and bald to suit the Indian bowling attack. (Twitter Photo)
It’s not the pitch but the narrative that needs to be underlined here. The pitch is going to turn. But it’s the narrative that needs telling – that turning pitches are what you’ll get when you tour India.
In that lies Team India’s answer to the unending semantics pouring in from all cricket-playing nations across the world, especially England and Australia, in that order.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan called the International Cricket Council (ICC) a “toothless body” for “allowing India to produce whatever they wish”.
The Indian team management says it doesn’t concern itself with what the “Vaughans” of the world might have to say on the pitch. Their simple answer is this, “Because it is a turning track, and you don’t really know how to play on it, it doesn’t become a ‘dangerous’ wicket. And if it’s not a dangerous wicket, and if both teams have batted twice on it, where’s the problem?
It is this very narrative that will once again dominate the fourth Test and apropos of the “expert opinions” flying in all and sundry, the wicket is once again expected to be a generous “turner”
“What is England’s problem here? That they can’t believe Joe Root took a fifer? If their rotation policy ensured Moeen Ali doesn’t stay back, then they need to revisit those policies again,” say those behind the scenes.
As for the hosts, Virat Kohli’s team may not see many changes in the playing eleven for the fourth Test barring a replacement for Jasprit Bumrah, who’s out for personal reasons. A fit-again Umesh Yadav can be expected to replace the local boy and a call will be taken later if India should continue with Washington Sundar or bring back the craftier Kuldeep Yadav.
The spin in the tale clearly isn’t changing for now.