MUMBAI: Rohit Sharma wants all “experts” with a view on cricket pitches to take a break. “How we bat, how we bowl, how we field – everybody’s welcome to have an opinion on it. But pitches are the same for both teams. Can’t understand the fuss,” he said while addressing the virtual media conference as the teams trained for the Pink Ball Test against England starting at Motera from Wednesday.
Opinions flew in dime-a-dozen when India won the toss in the second Test at Chennai and batted first on a pitch that started spinning right from the first session.
“For years, these are the kind of pitches that India has been dishing out. So, I don’t really understand what this whole chatter is about. Every country likes to have its share of home advantage. When we travel, nothing comes easy,” adds Sharma.
The opener, who came up with a highly impressive 161 at Chepauk to help his team set up a good first innings total, confirmed that the pitch for the third Test – at Motera, Ahmedabad – will be “more or less the same”. The batsman says it’s still a bit early to talk about the surface (at Motera) but “I don’t see anything changing”.
Why should the Indian team care what the other team is thinking? “That’s the case when we travel. We will obviously have conditions that we like, the kind that supports our strengths. Isn’t that what you call home advantage?” he says.
Sharma adds that if anyone has an issue with the kind of surface being dished out here (in India), they should go and tell the ICC to have a standard format for all pitches anywhere across the world.
“Because that’s not how it works. Home advantage is all about making it tougher for the visiting team. In the end, the surface is the same for both teams. It’s about how you adapt to it,” he says.
Sharma is not thinking too much about the century he got in Chennai, except that he’s happy it helped the team’s cause. “I don’t bother myself rating knocks, putting one ahead of the other. Once I realised the ball was starting to turn and there was a rough outside the off, I realised I’d have to be a bit unorthodox with my approach, that sweeping was going to be a better option,” he says.
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The ability to sweep comfortably alone went on to become a talking point, distinguishing the strengths and weaknesses of batsmen who were “qualified” to play on that wicket.
The same conditions, he believes, will be at play at Motera too, with the only difference being that the third Test is a Day & Night game.
“The second session – there needs to be a bit of extra focus on that. That session when twilight takes over. Visibility-wise, how it affects batsmen, what happens when the lights come on, etc. I’ve played only one Pink Ball Test – against Bangladesh. But I’ve heard from other players and tried to understand from their experiences,” Sharma adds.
The changing weather, changing light – the batsman believes these are the challenging factors. “So, one has got to be a bit extra cautious. We’re playing here (Motera) for the first time. So players will certainly take a few minutes out of their schedules to understand the conditions – sights and the sounds – better. Even the seats in the stadium are brand new, so they’ll also be shining a bit extra,” he says.
💬 ‘Application of mind is the key during challenging conditions.’#TeamIndia batsman @ImRo45 says that the focus h… https://t.co/GICwWTkWvj
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