Why Indian pitches offer an excellent exchange rate

Remember when India’s batsmen used to make double hundreds all the time? Captains routinely doubled up as doctors in the first innings, declaring the innings closed and the pitches dead (even if a certain zombie joie de vivre often manifested itself in the form of turn on day five.)

It’s not like that nowadays. Indian fans no longer find themselves spending four days explaining to irate foreigners that a match isn’t destined to be a draw; that things might move on swiftly when the pitch starts to crumble. Nowadays they have to defend their pitches for doing too much, too soon.

Someone, somewhere apparently imposed some standard where only Australian-style pitches were considered acceptable for Test cricket. Everything else was wrong, evil and ‘doctored’. It seems this game that is defined by variety could only properly be showcased on one particular type of pitch. Diversity painted from the narrowest of palettes.

Is a turning pitch a bad pitch? Of course not. It is good to see batsmen having to work for their runs – and if more were available in the recent Test between India and New Zealand than some others on those shores in recent times, then a least no-one reached three figures.

That, to us, can often be a sign of a good match. Runs retained their value against the more meaningful currency of wickets. Everything mattered.

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12 Appeals

  1. Was this a perfect pitch? It had swing, seam, turn, bounce. Runs could be scored but only with some grit.

    • King Cricket

      September 26, 2016 at 10:53 am

      We thought that, but that’s part of the problem – the notion that there is such a thing as a perfect pitch. It is certainly good when there’s something there for everyone, but the nature of the game is to find a way of coping with emphasis that shifts from seam to swing to spin to batsmen-friendly. It’s great if that all happens within one match, but when one particular aspect is of more significance throughout, that’s a different challenge again.

      • Edwardian Cricket

        September 26, 2016 at 8:49 pm

        Cricinfo go into a great deal of detail about pitch preparation and what constitutes a good pitch across the formats:


        Possibly only of great interest to those of us who are in the trade of grass cutting. My mate who sweeps my chimneys used to look after the ground at Fenners. He had to provide a turf sample at 11pm before next day’s play. Apparently being a chimney sweep is far less stressful.

      • Edwardian Cricket

        September 26, 2016 at 10:11 pm

        Based on your broad take on Indian pitches nowadays, as Chandigarh in December is cooler, temperate, I wonder whether this has to offer up something altogether different to the other Indian test pitches.

  2. In other news…

    …I came down from cloud nine sufficiently this weekend to write up my recent trip to Manchester.

    Highlights include best part of four days at Old Trafford watching Lancashire v Middlesex, several visits to the real tennis court in Salford and a face-to-face meeting with King Cricket himself.

    Usual caveats apply – the piece is more than pamphlet length and it does mention the cricket. But there are also several pictures:


    • I walk past the Manchester Tennis and Racquet Club frequently, it’s clearly a lot nicer on the inside than it looks from the outside.

      The Booths in MediaCityUK, by the way, is a fine place for buying beer, perhaps the finest supermarket for that purpose in the Manchester/Salford ‘twin cities’ area (as no-one calls it).

      • Indeed x2 A P Webster.

        I suggest you ask to be shown around the MTRC on some mutually convenient occasion – the staff there are very friendly and seem very proud of the club.

        KC & I discussed the near-aptronym quality of the Booze/Booths supermarket. Further, viz the Cricket Badger several cricketers spotted reportage, I did wonder whether the Middlesex team members really were going to Booths to get milk.

        But KC felt that punctuating as “milk” on such flimsy evidence would be a grammatical device too far.

  3. Just interviewed Mark Nicholas on the phone.

    Half way through he shouts: “Hang on, are we on the wrong platform? But it says Folkestone and Dover!”

  4. In other in other news news, no place for Virat Kohli, or other notable absentees such as those careers finished more than 10 years ago, in the Indian cricket fans’ dream XI:


    The greatest-ever Indian cricketer is, however, included. You could never leave out Dravid, could you, eh readers?!

  5. We did a piece on this last year – have a read and let us know what you guys think.


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