India opening batsman Rohit Sharma on Sunday (February 21) played down the discussion about the pitches, and asked everyone to focus on the performances of the cricketers. The four-match Test series stands at 1-1 with England winning the first Test by 227 runs and India leveled the series after winning the second Test by 317 runs.
Rohit starred for India in the second Test scoring 161 in the first innings which helped India to put up 329 runs on the board, a score that ensured the hosts had the match in their control as England failed to win a single session on a challenging pitch offering plenty of turn all the way through.
While India scored 615 runs in the Test match on the same pitch, England could only manage 134 and 164 with no real resistance coming from any of the batsmen to trouble the home team. Despite this fact, former cricketers Michael Vaughan, David Lloyd and Mark Waugh slammed the "sub-standard" pitch.
Rohit in his virtual press conference, talked straight and said home teams always have the advantage and India faces the same challenges when playing overseas.
He said, “Pitch is the same for both teams. I do not know why there is so much discussion about the pitch. Both teams play on the same turf and if people start talking about the pitch, I just want to say pitches in India have always been like this. I do not think there were any changes, everyone takes the home advantage, when we go outside, nobody thinks about us so why should we think about others? We should do things as per the preference of our team, this is what home advantage is all about,”
“If you remove the home and away advantage, tell the ICC to make rules regarding what the pitch should be. The same kind of pitch should be made in India and outside India as well. When we go outside, people make life difficult for us as well. I do not think pitches need to be discussed this much, talk about the players and their game. There should not be much discussion about the pitch,” Rohit added.
Rohit said India never complains about the pitches offered to them overseas and infact takes pride in doing well in challenging conditions.
Asking the experts to talk about the game and not the pitch, he said: “As a batsman, I try to focus on adapting myself to the pitch conditions. This is the reason we all are here, there are many who want to play cricket but you are here because you understand the pitch conditions. There are chances you could fail but it does not matter as long as you learn from that. Our team prides itself on playing in challenging conditions, we never complain when we play on a challenging wicket outside India. To the experts, talk about the game, do not discuss pitches.”
The Third Test between India and England will be a day-night contest played with the pink ball from February 24 at the Sarder Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad. The revamped 'Motera' has a seating capacity of 110,000 but only 50% of the capacity is allowed for now with the COVID-19 pandemic threat still not completely gone away.
(With ANI inputs)