"Our groundsmen do it deliberately": Sunil Gavaskar gives a bold verdict to pitch 'double standards' debate

As the Cape Town Test between India and South Africa finished as the shortest-ever Test match in history, it sparked a broader discussion on the quality of pitches and the sustainability of Test cricket.
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Sunil Gavaskar has criticized the perceived double standards in the ongoing worldwide discussion regarding pitches. In the second Test of the series against South Africa at Newlands, Cape Town, India emerged victorious convincingly. The playing surface, characterized by its challenging conditions with small divots, led to significant movement and bounce, resulting in the Test concluding within a day and a half.

During the match, South Africa was dismissed for a mere 55 runs in the first session, followed by India losing their last six wickets without adding any runs. The Test witnessed a total of 23 wickets falling on the first day, establishing it as the shortest completed Test match in the history of the sport.

This outcome sparked a broader discussion on the quality of pitches and the sustainability of Test cricket. Sunil Gavaskar contributed to the discourse in a column for Mid-day, emphasizing the inconsistency in the narratives surrounding pitches in India compared to those in SENA countries (South Africa, England, New Zealand, Australia).

Sunil Gavaskar hits back strongly at critics

Gavaskar highlighted a specific incident from the Cape Town Test, where Shaun Pollock, a commentator, criticized the curator for making an erroneous decision in his day-two pitch report. The former Indian captain underscored this as a recurring pattern among SENA nations.

“These kind of excuses that the curator got it wrong is typical of the SENA countries,” Gavaskar wrote. “When our curators make a dry pitch then it’s ‘chicanery’ as a former Australian skipper said last year after the Aussies had been walloped in the first two Test matches.

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“So our groundsmen do it deliberately, but their groundsmen just get it wrong. It’s like before the third country umpires came in, where decisions by their umpires were excused as ‘human error’ while our umpires were cheats and ‘Delhi Butchers’ and all such derogatory headlines.”

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