• Shastri defends Indian pitches

    India have dismissed the notion that the pitches are to blame for the low scores in the Test series against South Africa.

    Indian team director Ravi Shastri has denied bad pitches were produced in Mohali and Nagpur and instead shifted the blame to one-day international cricket.

    According to Shastri, one-day cricket has impaired batsmen’s ability to graft for runs and spend long hours at the crease.

    Shastri said he had no issues with the pitches that were produced.

    ‘Nothing wrong with it [pitches produced for the Test series],’ Shastri told ESPNcricinfo. ‘I would hope the one in Delhi is absolutely the same. I have no qualms about it.

    ‘It just goes to show that with the amount of one-day cricket being played, the tendency to graft, the tendency to spend long hours at the crease is diminishing. It’s only when you play on tracks like this that you realise that you got to spend time at the crease.

    ‘And when you saw Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis batting yesterday, you thought there was nothing in the pitch. It just goes to show there was an era earlier who would play on these pitches and people would get hundreds. Because they were prepared to go through the grind.’

    Amla admitted in the aftermath of South Africa’s 124-run defeat in the third Test that the conditions were the toughest he had encountered in his career.

    South Africa were bowled out for a paltry 79 in their first innings but fared better in the second as they scored 185. However, Amla said the fact that they were able to reach 185 was down to luck and that his team could easily have been dismissed again for less than 100 runs.

    Shastri dismissed the argument and said if batsmen in both teams had applied themselves better there would have been bigger scores.

    ‘I think if someone had applied himself he would have got 80-odd, 90-odd, even a hundred,’ Shastri said. ‘The way [Murali] Vijay was playing he would have got a hundred.

    ‘The pitch was absolutely not a problem. It’s on both sides. Par for the course on this wicket was 275 or 250, which was more than enough. If you get up and reach to the pitch of the ball, and there is a surface like, that you can play on it. You have to stop cribbing and get on with the job at hand.

    ‘For example, Bangalore was a fantastic track. I’m disappointed we are not 3-0 up. On a good track we bowled out South Africa and we were 80 for no loss. We really had a chance to dominate the next four days. People won’t talk about that.’

    Picture: AFP

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