By: Shubham Ghosh
Former India captain and legendary opening batter Sunil Gavaskar has taken a massive dig at the Indian team saying the absence of ace bowlers in its ranks has forced the home team to bank on turning wickets in the ongoing Test series against Australia.
Playing surfaces in all the three matches played so far in Nagpur, Delhi and Indore have come under questioning after all the games got over inside three days. While India won the first two matches, they were handed a crushing defeat by the visiting team in Indore where Rohit Sharma’s men were bowled out twice in two days.
The pitch was deemed “poor” by the International Cricket Council after Australia won by nine wickets in just over two days.
Gavaskar, after whom the Border-Gavaskar Trophy the two teams are playing for has been named (along with former Australia captain Allan Border), slammed the hosts ahead of the fourth and final Test in Ahmedabad which India must win to remain in the contention for a place in the World Test Championship (WTC) final to be held in England in June this year.
Speaking to India Today, the 73-year-old said the current Indian attack lacks the likes of speedster Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami and does not have the ability to pick 20 wickets.
“Taking 20 wickets is not going to be easy in India. On a lot of Indian pitches, without your ace bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami and a slightly inexperienced Mohammed Siraj, I don’t think that bowling attack is such (strong). But with a little bit of help from a dry pitch, India can probably take 20 wickets. I think that is the thinking behind preparing such pitches,” he was quoted as saying.
“For India to reach the World Test Championship Final, they did not have any other options (than producing turning tracks). If you would have had a strong attack, maybe you could have done something different but your strength is your spinners and therefore I think these pitches are being made. You do not want a flat pitch where the batters go out and dominate. These pitches are testing the temperament of the batters,” Gavaskar added.
Bumrah has continued to struggle with his back injury and repeated efforts to see him making an international comeback have not succeeded. It has now been reported that the pacer will miss the entire 2023 season of the Indian Premier League starting later this month and might also be unavailable for the WTC final given India qualify.
Shami, on the other hand, has been benched as part of workload management, but might be added to the playing XI for the key fourth and final match.