The pitch at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad which hosted the 3rd Test between India and England came under the scanner after the match came to an end well within two days. However, senior cricketer Ravichandran Ashwin has hit back at the critics stating “who defines a good surface is?”
During a long press conference addressed by the cricketer, Ashwin has expressed strong reservations about the narrative that India are winning only because of the wickets that are tailormade to suit their strengths. Ravichandran Ashwin set Twitter on fire with a series of tweets revealing his dissatisfaction about how “things are being shoved down their throats”, only to clarify that it was all about cricket.
The off-spinner believes that the cricketers deserve a lot more credits for winning the day-night Test in Ahmedabad than saying that they won because the pitch aided them.
“Thoughts being put across and planted to people is really hilarious and I find it heinous to a point, where you have a thought process and you want everyone to follow that and think that and condition it,” Ashwin said during a virtual media interaction. “With thoughts what happens is, you condition people into believing in a certain way, so you watch a match, you watch India win the game and at most, everyone’s saying ‘I’m happy India won.’
“You don’t want people to go back home and say, ‘India is not winning the game, it’s the pitch that’s winning game’. That’s not what I want people to do. Anyway, I know that’s going to come up, this kind of conditioning has been happening, it has happened for a long time. It’s important people sell things, but we must know what we must buy,” Ravichandran Ashwin added.
While a couple of cricketers have labeled this wicket as poor, India skipper Virat Kohli felt that the batters were not up to the mark and there were no demons on the pitch. Rohit Sharma, too, echoed his captain’s views after the two-day finish. Irritated with all the discussions going around with the surface, Ravichandran Ashwin drew reference from India’s tour of New Zealand last year where both the match ended within five days and that people had no problem with the kind of surface that was provided.
“I have said this in the past also that everybody is entitled to their opinion and I am not here to say your opinion was wrong or right,” Ravichandrna Ashwin said. “But the fact remains that the talk around the surface…it’s just getting out of hands yaar. Why would you talk about the surface to us time and time again? Has there been any instance where the surface has been spoken about at any other place, any other country we have played games in?
“I somehow find it very, very funny that when they speak about the surface, it immediately gets quoted all over in our press. And that is the issue here. Because there have been instances. We went to New Zealand and both Tests were over within five days. A total of five days for two Test matches and nobody quoted it.
“There is a video that’s doing the rounds where Virat in South Africa is saying that “I’m not here to talk about the pitch and I am not comforting my team [about the loss]”. That is how we have been taught to play cricket and I don’t know why we indulge in such thoughts, promote such thoughts. That’s why I say, let them sell it, buying is always our choice,” Ravichandran Ashwin continued.
Who defines what a good surface is? Ravichandran Ashwin
As much as Ravichandran Ashwin tried to move on from the narrative that has been built around the wicket, the cricketer received a barrage of questions from the media. At one point, when a member of the English media asked Ashwin if the Ahmedabad wicket was good and if there was an even contest between bat and ball, the Tamil Nadu-born star cross-questioned asking how one defines what a good surface is.
“I have a question back. What is a good cricket surface?” Ravichandran Ashwin asked.
‘I am the one asking the question…good contest between bat and ball?’ the journalist prodded again.
“Yes, of course,” Ashwin shot back. “The bowlers want to win the game. The batsman needs to bat well to get runs. No question about it. What makes a good surface? Who defines this? Seam on the first day and then bat well and then spin on the last two days? Come on! Who makes all these rules, we need to get over it and not talk about whatever picture you want to paint. If you’re asking if it is a good Test surface, I don’t see any of the players coming from England having an issue with the surface. They want to improve, they look like they want to have a contest. Is it the players and the people who are reporting back that want their players to not complete and complain about the pitches? Because we have never done that on any of the tours,” Ravichandran Ashwin shot back at the reporter.