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As the start of the first Test of the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2022-23 nears, the talks around the pitch that will be served in Nagpur are growing louder and louder. While India are hoping for a rank-turner and in a way pushing for it too, the entire Australian cricketing fraternity is against it. From Ian Healy to Steve Smith, almost everyone has discussed the pitch that can be served for the Nagpur Test. 

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With images of the Jamtha pitch doing the rounds on the internet, a few Australians have accused India of pitch doctoring. Senior cricket expert Robert Craddock said on SEN’s podcast, “It’s a multi-toned pitch. The classic saying about pitches is, ‘Oh, it’s the same for everyone”.

“When the Gabba pitch too much grass was left on it, people were saying, ‘Yes, it was not a great wicket, but it was the same everyone. But you can’t say that about this pitch, Australia has six left-handers in their top eight, so if you start multi-preparing parts of the deck that’s straight-up pitch doctoring, it’s poor,” he said.

Meanwhile, another Aussie expert and former cricketer Simon O’Donnell said ICC should intervene. “The ICC should step in and do something about it, if they think it’s not right.”

Now, as India captain Rohit Sharma attended the pre-match press conference on Wednesday (8 Feb), he was asked about these accusations and the talk surrounding the Nagpur pitch. Sharma had a no-nonsense reply ready as the India captain suggested his rivals to focus on cricket rather than on the pitch. “Just focus on cricket and not the pitch. After all the 22 guys out there are all quality players,” Rohit said in response to the question.

The Indian skipper also shared a piece of advice for the Australian batters on how to play on turning tracks. “It is important to have a plan and figure a way. Everyone has a different method. Some like to sweep some reverse some hitting over the bowler. You need to rotate strike and sometimes you need to counterattack.

“The captains would obviously try different things and change fields and bowlers. So you need to plan and play accordingly,” he added.