England started the long India tour in a convincing way at Rajkot by settling with a draw. Coming back from a devastating defeat at Dhaka, Alastair Cook must’ve rubbed his eyes after looking at the wicket.
Everyone was expecting the Rajkot pitch to be a rank turner that would start turning from day 2 or 3 but to everyone’s surprise it was good for batting on first couple of days and throughout the course of the match it didn’t offer huge help to the spinners.
Also, the cracks were wrong areas. As a bowler ideally you would want the cracks to be around off stump on full length area but the Rajkot wicket had cracks in center of pitch which meant if a spinner had to aim for cracks, they would have to bowl good length or short of good length. Harsha Bhogle was critical of the pitch saying India gave England, just the kind of pitch they would have asked for.
He mentioned in a tweet just few minutes after the first test ended in a draw, “India have allowed England to fill themselves with confidence by offering them a pitch they couldn’t have dreamt of”.
India have allowed England to fill themselves with confidence by offering them a pitch they couldn't have dreamt of.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) November 13, 2016
This is not for the first time Harsha has been critical of Indian pitches. He criticized Nagpur pitch last year and as per sources that comment resulted in termination of his contract as IPL Commentator. He wrote, “Mohali was disappointing and Nagpur has been dire.
I remember the outrage we felt at the trampoline in Durban in 1996 and the lawns in New Zealand in 2002. We in India were convinced those were unacceptable, and we were right. By the same argument these pitches, especially this one in Nagpur, should be frowned upon too. They are not good for cricket and they are certainly not good for Indian cricket,”
Niranjan Shah, the honorary Secretary of Saurashtra Cricket Association has promised a sporting pitch at the start of the test match. The second test starts on 17 November at Vishakhapatnam, where it is expected to turn. Both teams have good spinners in their sides to exploit the conditions if the pitch starts to turn square.