Can't blame Indian pitches, South African batsmen have flawed techniques: Ian Chappell
Former Australian captain Ian Chappell said a good pitch should offer an even contest between bat and ball and hopefully provide a close finish.
Former Australian captain Ian Chappell defended the nature of pitches in the recentlt concluded Test series between India and South Africa. Two of the four matches got over inside three days, one was washed out and only the final game lasted all five days.
India won the series 3-0, ended South Africa's streak of 15 successive unbeaten series away from home since 2006 and moved up to No.2 in the ICC Test rankings. However, former and current international cricketers blasted the Indians for preparing rank turners in Mohali and especially in Nagpur, where the Proteas were shot out for 72 in their first innings.
Former Australian batsman Matthew Hayden said he was disappointed to see the quality of Test cricket reduced. Australia's limited-overs specialist Glenn Maxwell, who was part of the team's 4-0 whitewash in India two years ago, called the Nagpur strip "diabolical".
Indian spin legend Bishan Singh Bedi also joined the chorus of protesting voices and said the Nagpur pitch resembled a "wrestling pit."
However, Chappell, outspoken and respected, said South Africa's batsmen lacked the technique to shine in difficult conditions.
"I watched some of South Africa's batting in Delhi, on a pitch that was even for both sides, and I'm not surprised they were exterminated in Nagpur. If South Africa continue to utilise flawed techniques and mindsets, it won't matter where they are playing, they will encounter difficulty," Chappell wrore in his column for ESPNcricinfo.
"In many cases the technique and mindset were designed purely for survival. If you allow spinners to dictate terms for long periods, with fielders hovering round the bat, on pitches providing assistance, then survival will be brief."
Chappell felt batsmen needed to be more aggressive against top-quality spinners and stressed on the importance of singles. " An aggressive thought process doesn't necessarily mean seeking regular boundaries; a succession of singles can disrupt the line and length of the best spinner."
The International Cricket Council rated the Nagpur pitch "poor". The ball had started to turn square from Day 1 and batting was visibly difficult in Jamtha. However, Team India director Ravi Shastri had blamed the low scores on poor application from the batsmen and rubbished all the criticism that surrounded the 22-yard surface.
"Ravi Shastri, the Indian team director, quite rightly made the point that if the ICC was investigating the surface in Nagpur, then why wasn't a similar forensic examination being conducted on the Adelaide pitch, where the match was completed in a similarly short time frame?," Chappell wrote.
The Indian spinners' domination sparked a world-wide debate on what a good pitch was. Chappell felt the definition of a good pitch could vary in each country - some sufraces would suit pacers and some might aid spinners.
This is the precise line taken by the Indian players, who wondered why no eyebrows were raised when England's Ashes Test against Australia at Trent Bridge got over in two days.