New Dehi: Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar today rejected criticism of the pitches in the ongoing Test series against South Africa, and said the blame rather lies with the Proteas batsmen, who lack “application, technique and temperament”. India won the first and third Test matches in Mohali and Nagpur, respectively with games ending withing three days on turning tracks and that invited a lot of criticism of the pitches from different quarters.
The Kotla pitch here is considered to be far better than the previous ones, but South Africa still faltered, getting bundled out for a mere 121 in reply to India’s 334. “In Nagpur also there was nothing in the pitch, which turned a little bit. If you are expecting to play on pitches, where the ball is going to come straight, then honestly one should go on the road and play, because only on roads the ball would come straight to you.
“Different conditions are there in different countries. And one should be prepared to accept that South Africa’s batting lacked application, technique and temperament,” said Gavaskar. Applauding Ajinkya Rahane (127) for his superb century, Gavaskar said had South Africans taken a cue from the Indian middle-order batsman, their scorecard could have looked better.
“India played top class cricket. (Ajinkya) Rahane and (Ravichandran) Ashwin (56) played really well and later the bowlers did a very good job,” Gavaskar told ‘NDTV’. “Rahane played marvellous cricket. His was a typical Test innings. He played close to his body. If his example was followed by the South Africans, then their scorecard would have looked different.
The way some South African batsmen played today, the pitch cannot be blamed. One should not complain about the pitch. It was a very ordinary batting by them,” he added.
Asked if India’s decision not to en-force a follow-on on South Africa was a right one, Gavaskar said, “Yes, I think it is a right decision. The pitch will deteriorate in the fourth innings even further and South Africa will find it very tough.” India had lost the five-match ODI series and two T20 Internationals before bouncing back in the ongoing Test series, which the home team have already won 2-0.
On whether he was surprised that India did not do well in the limited overs as expected but completely dominated in Test cricket, Gavaskar said, “Yes, I am surprised to a little extend. But one has to take into account that South Africa lost their most experienced and world class bowler Dale Steyn. And other bowlers are mostly very inexperienced.”
Meanwhile, Gavaskar said that the world cricket has got used to India and Pakistan not playing bilateral series and spectators are not losing out much. “India and Pakistan haven’t played a bilateral series after 2012 and even before that there used to very few series. So, I do not think it was affected world cricket in that manner. World cricket has got used to them not playing.”
On whether the spectators are deprived of India-Pakistan cricket rivalry, the former captain said, “I don’t think the series now will generate the same kind of excitement as it used to. Excitement levels in 2004-05 when Sourav Ganguly’s team went to Pakistan or Inzamam’s team in 2007-08. That time the excitement levels were too high because of the quality of the players.
“But now, with all due respect to the current crop, the clash between the two sides would not generate so much excitement because of the kind of players.”