2nd Test: Rohit Sharma urges match referees to ‘keep eyes and ears open’ while rating pitches

After India beat South Africa by seven wickets to win the Cape Town Test inside two days on a pitch that was hugely favouring the fast bowlers, captain Rohit Sharma has urged the match referees appointed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to keep their eyes and ears open when they are going to rate the pitches.

After India beat South Africa by seven wickets to win the Cape Town Test inside two days on a pitch that was hugely favouring the fast bowlers, captain Rohit Sharma has urged the match referees appointed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to keep their eyes and ears open when they are going to rate the pitches.

“We saw what happened in this match, how the pitch played and stuff like that. I honestly don’t mind playing on pitches like this. As long as everyone keeps their mouth shut in India and don’t talk too much about Indian pitches, honestly. Because you come here, it is dangerous. It is challenging.”

“So, and when people come to India, it is again pretty challenging as well. Look, when you are here to play Test cricket, we talk about Test cricket, the ultimate prize, Test cricket being the pinnacle and stuff like that. I think it’s important that we also stand by it.”

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“When you are put up against, a challenge like that, you come and face it. That’s what happens in India. But, in India on Day One, if the pitch starts turning, people start talking about it, ‘Puff of dust! Puff of dust!’ There’s so much crack here on the pitch. People are not looking at that,” said Rohit in the post-match press conference on Thursday.

After India got their series-levelling win, where none of the spinners bowled, Rohit stressed being neutral while rating the pitches and mentioned some of the ratings pitches received in last year’s Men’s ODI World Cup.

“It’s important that we stay neutral wherever we go, especially the match referees. Some of these match referees need to keep their eye on how they rate pitches, as well, as it’s quite important. I still can’t believe that the World Cup final pitch was rated below average.”

“A batsman got a hundred there in the final. How can that be a poor pitch? So these are the things the ICC, the match referees, they need to look into and start rating pitches based on what they see, not based on the countries. I think that’s quite important.”

“So I hope they keep their ears open, they keep their eyes open and look into those aspects of the game. Honestly, like I said, I’m all for pitches like this. We want to challenge playing on pitches like this. We pride ourselves on playing on pitches like this. But all I wanna say is be neutral.”

Rohit further talked about how different the narrative becomes when the pitch starts taking turn from day one of a Test match in India.

“Honestly, I would like to see how the pitches are rated. Mumbai, Bangalore, Cape Town, and Centurion are all quite different venues. The overhead conditions are different.”

“The pitches deteriorate quite fast when the sun is beating down that hard on the pitch. The conditions in India also — we know the pitch will spin, without a doubt. But people don’t like it because the pitch spins from Day 1.”

“That’s not the point; if the ball seams from ball 1, it’s fine for everyone. That’s not fair. If the ball starts spinning from ball 1, it should be okay in my opinion. Otherwise, you stay neutral and start rating these pitches also as bad,” he said.

“If you want the ball only to seam and not to turn, in my opinion, that’s absolutely wrong. That’s my judgement, my opinion and I’ll stick by it. I’ve seen enough cricket and enough of how these match referees and ICC look into these ratings. I don’t have an issue with how you rate, but stay neutral,” Rohit added.

India’s next Test assignment will be a crucial five-match Test series against England at home, happening from January 25 to March 11, with Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Rajkot, Ranchi and Dharamshala being the venues.

(IANS)