#IndvsSA: Why Team Kohli win was not great

Playing to our strengths, on spin-friendly tracks, may help us now, but it will definitely hurt us in the long run.

 |  3-minute read |   07-12-2015
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Big win for Team India... 3-0! The young guns, under Virat Kohli have decimated South Africa - the top-ranked team in the world - in the just-concluded Test series. India's win in the final Test at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Monday was as emphatic as those at Nagpur and Mohali. For a change, the Indian bowling unit has managed to take 20 wickets consistenly in Test cricket. Surely this is a cause for celebration. Or is it?

Although there was good cricket in parts - Ravichandra Ashwin's off-spin, AB De Villiers' innings at Mohali and Bengaluru, Ajinkya Rahane's excellent technical display - there have been serious questions on the nature of pitches used in the series.

Many, including former and current cricketers, and experts have constantly questioned the dustbowls or the unusually spin-friendly pitches created apparently to give an advantage to the Indian team.

So much so, the International Cricket Council (ICC) rated the pitch used for the third Test at Nagpur as "poor" in its official report. The report has been sent to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which has 14 days to respond.

On Twitter, many cricketers like former England captain Michael Vaughan described the pitch as "diabolical", a sentiment echoed by Australia spinner Glenn Maxwell.

A home advantage is an accepted factor in any sport. But this "advantage" has to be within some reasonable limits and in line with the spirit of the game. Preparing spin-friendly tracks is not a crime. But cricket, like any other sport, should present an equal opportunity to both the sides, with perhaps a slight advantage for the home team. It is against the spirit of the game to have tracks completely in favour of one side.

Worse still, it is disappointing for good cricketers. We should be telling our cricketers that we trust their abilities to compete under any conditions, on any pitch.

It is a great feeling to win a Test series against the number one Test team in the world. But beyond this series lies the bigger picture. Giving undue advantage and playing to our strengths might help us now, but it will definitely hurt us in the long run.

The Indian cricket team has always received flak for its inability to cope on bouncy, seam-friendly pitches abroad.

There is no shame in accepting this shortcoming, provided, we work on our flaws.

Rather than working to get over this weakness, we are constantly producing slow pitches to play to our strengths. How will Virat Kohli and his boys fare when they go on tour, when the conditions would not be as favourable as in say, a Mohali, Nagpur or Delhi? Will it be the same old story? With Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and rest of the Australian pace battery lying in wait, would the Indians prove easy meat?  

The Indian cricket team is good enough to compete and win on any pitch, under any conditions. They should be allowed to.

Writer

Furqan Faridi Furqan Faridi @fgfaridi

Sub-editor, DailyO.

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