The pitch at Wankhede Stadium used for last weeks drab (with the exception of the 5th day) 3rd test between India and West Indies raised more than a few eyebrows from interested observers (outside of India in particular).
There appears to be a school of thought doing the rounds that the pitch was produced purely for Sachin to get his 100th international century. I can see why people might think this, but rather than jumping to conclusions, I’d rather look at the facts.
Like England produce bowler friendly wickets for our seam bowlers, India also play to their strengths and regularly produce batsmen friendly wickets that suit the spinners later on in the test, as the home side that is their prerogative and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this.
West Indies’ batting also has a bad habit of regularly collapsing, as it did in this test match. Add to this that all ten 2nd innings wickets fell to the spinners and was it really anything out of the ordinary? Probably not.
From my own prospective, I though that the pitch was pathetically easy to score on. If West Indies can score just under 600 runs on it, then either the bowling is abysmal, or the pitch is too batsmen friendly.
I hope that the pitch wasn’t produced with one man in mind, I would be very disgusted if it was. The good of test cricket comes before all, even Sachin, and he is good enough to complete his feat without any additional help.
I did notice on Twitter this morning a couple of articles doing the rounds that were pointing to the fact that the wickets on the 5th day proved that this wasn’t a ‘Sachin’ pitch. This proved nothing to me, as it was a familiar West Indian style batting collapse, followed by wickets falling in a run chase.
Onto the thorny issue of spot-fixing again. I did originally think that the jail sentence handed down to Salman Butt in the spot fixing trial was a bit harsh. With both Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir appealing last week, I expected to see Butt (at least) get a slight reduction on the length of his sentence.
I was very surprised to see both their appeals dismissed. When I heard the outcome I couldn’t help think if this had been two Premier League footballers, then they would have been back out on the streets at least a couple of weeks ago.
It will be interesting to see if Mohammad Asif gets anywhere with his appeal, I don’t know how the judicial system works and whether Asif will be facing a different judge with his appeal. But after the outcome of these two, I doubt he will be too optimistic either way.
Of the three men in question, if I’m honest I have a personal dislike for Asif. I have always found there to be something suspicious and shifty looking about him and I wouldn’t trust him as far as I can throw him.
Knowing him, he is probably the most guilty, and he will probably be the one who gets a reduced sentence.
The biggest shock of all for me over the past 10 days or so is the appointment of South African, Mickey Arthur to be the new coach of Australia, the Aussies first ever foreign coach. If there was no Aussie of any stature in the running for the job I could understand this appointment, but there was.
Ok, so Justin Langer isn’t an experienced coach like Arthur, but Tom Moody was in the running and he has coached all over the world. This must feel like a right kick in the teeth for Moody (you may need Peter Crouch to administer such a kick).
In Arthur’s defence, he has been coaching in Australia, so at least he has had a good look at all the young talent in the country and as England have found with Andy Flower, a foreign coach can bring an “unblinkered eye to the role,” (Arthur’s words).
I’m also pleased to see John Inverarity in the role of Australia’s National Selector. Inverarity is a former Warwickshire coach and should bring a vast amount of experience and know how to his role within the new Australian set up.