In our book, all pitches are acceptable unless they result in boring cricket. For what it’s worth, our book is entitled The Book of Unarguable Facts.
Some dude in Mohali has curated a cracker (curators curate, yes?) for the first Test between India and South Africa. Flat on a seamer’s length and scuffed to buggery on a spinner’s length it delivers exactly what a Test pitch should – a tough challenge for the touring side.
Dean Elgar wasn’t happy with it, even though he took four wickets on the first day. “I don’t think it’s a very good cricket wicket,” he said. “It is my personal opinion. It is a result wicket.”
Interesting that Elgar equates result wickets with not-very-good wickets – for what are cricket matches about if not attaining a result? It seems the myth of the ‘good’ cricket pitch still persists.
There’s a common belief that green pitches are fair because they subsequently flatten out, while turning pitches are unfair because they deteriorate further. But is this the case? We need only review a week’s worth of Test history to find at least two examples where it hasn’t really worked out like that.
The first, second and third innings of the third Test between Pakistan and England featured escalating scores, while India are now 125-2 in their second innings, which hardly implies a making-a-mockery-of-our-noble-sport minefield.
Play on turning pitches, play on greentops, play on pock-marked concrete if you want – but only judge the quality of the pitch at the match’s conclusion.