They pitched it wrong

2008-04-19 00:00

IT was neither a surprise nor a disgrace that the Proteas should have come a cropper on an under-prepared pitch in Kanpur. What will be shocking is if the match referee’s report condemning a pitch that fell way short of the standard required for a Test match provokes no response from his masters at the ICC. In this day and age when all aspects of conduct are governed by some ICC code or another, it seems ludicrous that a pitch was produced on which batting became difficult by the morning of the second day. With a majority of ICC members in tow to the might of India, however, nothing more than a slap on the wrist should be expected for this blatant example of pitch-fixing.

Sourav Ganguly, much derided by Greg Chappell during the Australian’s time as Indian coach, showed how runs could be made under such treacherous conditions. He did not shrink back into his shell waiting to be struck down by the next unplayable delivery. He adopted the sensible attitude that he would attack the bowling on the basis that that if the ball behaved normally he would make runs and if it deviated abnormally he would, with luck, miss it altogether. As it was, he made a priceless 87, worth at least as much as De Villiers’s second Test double hundred, and succumbed only when he had a slog at the death of the Indian innings.

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