India opener Rohit Sharma played down the chatter over the pitch at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai, saying there is no need to be critical about pitches used in Test cricket when teams across the world have used home advantage to their favour over the years.
Rohit Sharma, it seems, is unimpressed with the criticism of the Chennai pitch even as a few former cricketers, including Michael Vaughan and Mark Waugh, called it “not fit for Test cricket ” and “unplayable”.
Chepauk’s pitch was slammed especially after England were bundled out for 134 in the 1st innings of the 2nd Test in Chennai. However, Team India responded to the criticism with the bat in the 2nd innings as the hosts went on to make 286 on a pitch that assisted the spinners right from Day 1. R Ashwin hit his 5th Test hundred while Virat Kohli chipped in with a classy 62.
The 2nd Test was set up for India by Rohit who hit 161 in India’s first innings. The hosts went on to level the series a 1-1 after thrashing England by 317 runs. The nature of the pitch for the 1st Test, which India lost by 224 runs, and the 2nd pitch in Chennai was certainly different.
“The pitch is the same for both teams. So I don’t know why there’s so much talk about the pitch. People say that the pitch shouldn’t be a certain type of way, but they have been like this in India for years. Every team plays to their strengths at home, and similarly, we do what our team prefers in India,” Rohit told the press on Sunday.
“This is what home or advantage means. Otherwise, remove home or away advantage. Tell ICC that there should be a rule which should be followed and the same kind of pitches should be made in India and away from India also.
“When we go abroad, the hosts also make it difficult. I don’t think there should be so much discussion about the pitches. Talk about the game, talk about the players. Pitches shouldn’t be discussed this much as both the teams play on the same pitch and whoever does better wins the match.
“As batsmen, we never think about the pitch. We only think about our plans. If it’s a turning pitch, whether we have to play the sweep or come down the track. If it’s a seaming pitch, whether we have to leave balls, stand outside the crease or play defensively,” he added.
Notably, India all-rounder R Ashwin had spoken about the Chepauk pitch criticism, pointing out that former India cricketers don’t crib about conditions when they go overseas. With the series leveled at 1-1, India and England will meet in the 3rd Test from Wednesday, February 24.