The ongoing Border Gavaskar Trophy has been marred with ‘pitch’ controversy. With the first three matches of the series ending within three days, the debate around the pitch has grown more intense. What started as a “below average” pitch in Nagpur turned into a “poor” pitch at Indore. While India won the first two Tests in Nagpur and Delhi respectively, Australia gave the hosts the taste of their own medicine in Indore, winning the match by nine wickets.
Australia, under Steve Smith, took seven sessions to wrap up the game and also draw criticism for the pitch from the International Cricket Council (ICC). The ICC match referee Chris Broad rated the pitch “poor” and as a result, the venue was handed three demerit points. While former India cricketers and fans were not so critical about the first two pitches, they came hard at the curators for creating a dust bowl in Indore. But the Indian team said they had no issues playing on that surface.
And with India still to seal their berth in the World Test Championship Final, everyone wants to have a first look at the pitch that will be served in Ahmedabad. However, it won’t be possible with the match still a few days away. But there is an update about what the curators are preparing. A PTI report has claimed that the pitch curators of Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) have got no instruction from Team India as of now and hence will be preparing a ‘normal’ pitch.
“We haven’t received any instructions from the Indian team management and our local curators are preparing a normal track as we have always done through the season," a state association source was quoted as saying by news agency PTI on Saturday.
“In fact, last Ranji game over here in January, Railways scored 500 plus (508) batting first and Gujarat, although suffered innings defeat, scored 200 plus in both innings. It won’t be too different this time," the source added.
However, he did not rule out the fact that there might be changes made when the BCCI curators take over. “Obviously, last few days the BCCI’s grounds and pitches committee instruct the local curator. But, certainly, from our end our endeavour is to produce a good Test match pitch," the official said.
How does a ‘normal’ Ahmedabad pitch play?
For those unversed, the last time a Test series was held at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, one of the games ended within two days. The highest score in that game was 145 and Joe Root had taken a five-wicket haul.
But when the official was reminded about that two-day finish during India vs England Test series in 2021, the curator defended the track saying it was a Day/Night Test. “You have to factor in that the Day/Night Test and the one after that were the first ones held after the stadium was refurbished and you had no clue how the pitch will pan out," the official argued.
So how will be the pitch for the fourth Test?
In all likelihood, the Ahmedabad pitch is also expected to be a turner but not one like in Indore. It is expected to be like the Nagpur pitch.