• Monday, March 20, 2023

CRICKET

Is a controversy already brewing over India-Australia 4th Test in Ahmedabad?

Australia captain Steve Smith (R) and Travis Head inspect the pitch for the upcoming 4th Test against India at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, India, on March 7, 2023. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

The ongoing Test match series between India and Australia have been more in the news because of not any batter or bowler but the surfaces on which the games have been played so far.

While all the three matches played so far have been completed inside three days, the third game in Indore particularly received a backlash after the hosts lost by nine wickets. The International Cricket Council also gave it a “poor” rating as against “average” given to the first two played in Nagpur and Delhi. All eyes are now on the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, where the crucial fourth Test will be played but it seems the pitch for that game could also trigger a row as no decision has been taken over it even 48 hours before the toss.

While some pictures have emerged from the venue, it is believed that the visiting team hasn’t been able to finalise its strategy for the game. The curators of the pitch have reportedly not received any instruction from either the Indian team or the Board of Control for Cricket in India about its preparation. It seems even the home team is in a dilemma over what sort of surface they would prefer after the drubbing they received in Indore.

“We haven’t received any instructions from the Indian team management and our local curators are preparing a normal track, as we have always done through the season,” a source in Gujarat Cricket Association was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.

“Obviously, (over the) last few days the BCCI’s grounds and pitches committee instruct the local curator … but, certainly, from our end, our endeavour is to produce a good Test match pitch,” they added.

It has also been learnt that India might not go for a rank turner after the backlash they received following the defeat in Indore.

The home team, which is leading the series 2-1, also needs to win the final Test if they are to qualify for the World Test Championship which will be held in England in June.

Given the fact that Australia’s spinners are in good form and not many India batters are particularly in good touch, a vicious turner might prove to be counter-productive for the home side.

Steve Smith, who captained Australia in the absence of Pat Cummins who flew back home after the second Test for a family reason, will be in charge in the fourth Test as well.

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