London, February 26
Former England captain Alastair Cook today questioned Virat Kohli’s stance on the Motera pitch and said the India skipper “defended the wicket almost as if it’s a BCCI thing”. Disagreeing with Kohli’s assessment of the third Test that ended with India crushing England by 10 wickets inside two days, Cook said batting was near impossible on the newly laid strip at the refurbished stadium in Ahmedabad. “Virat Kohli’s come out and defended the wicket almost as if it’s a BCCI thing — it cannot possibly be the wicket. Yet it was so hard to bat on that. So hard,” Cook told Channel 4.
Only two batsmen — one each from both sides — could score a half-century as 28 wickets fell to the spinners on a Motera pitch that many players felt was not ideal for a Test match. The likes of Sunil Gavaskar, however, credited the spinners rather than blaming the pitch.
Cook added, “We’ve got Virat Kohli, Joe Root, we have some great players of spin. Yes, we’ve got some people who have got to learn to play spin better, but we have got great players of spin also struggling. To me it’d be great to have that game with the red ball to see the difference when the ball is skidding on.”
Cook, one of England’s all-time greats and who had had success against India during his illustrious career, also spoke about the many deliveries that straightened on landing, especially by Axar Patel. The left-arm spinner finished the match with 11 wickets. “We saw a stat that says this pitch has spun more than any other pitch in India,” Cook said.
“There’s been so many other balls that have gone straight on as well. So that means when it is turning, it is turning miles. When you see the highlights and the ball skidding on you, we don’t see the build-up: when the exact same ball is spinning miles,” Cook said.
Former skipper Nasser Hussain said that England have lost their batting rhythm after playing on two difficult surfaces and looked like “startled rabbits” in the second innings. “Especially on this pitch, where one spins prodigiously and the other skids on, you lose all kind of rhythm. That’s what successive Test matches on these sorts of pitches do for your mindset,” Hussain told Sky Sports.
“England looked like startled rabbits in that second innings. I don’t think it was an 81 all out pitch but this was a much tougher pitch than Chennai,” he added.
“Most of his wickets came from balls that didn’t turn, so people will look at that and say why not play for those straight deliveries, but it’s the ball before,” he said. “You could also argue that it was that pitch before in Chennai when everything spun big.” — PTI
Shoes with rubber sole: Azharuddin’s mantra for turners
New Delhi: Wearing shoes with rubber soles, assured footwork and proper shot-selection are the keys to success for batsmen on a “rank turner” like the Motera pitch, feels Mohammed Azharuddin, a former India captain and one of the finest players of spin.” I have seen some amazing Test knocks being played on tough surfaces by batsmen who wore shoes with rubber soles,” Azharuddin tweeted
I accidentally became a cricketer, says Ashwin
Ahmedabad: Called a modern day legend by his captain Virat Kohli, ace Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said he is actually an accidental cricketer, who is living a dream with over 400 Test wickets under his belt. “I accidentally became a cricketer. I am actually a cricket lover who went on to become a cricketer. I am living my dream here, I never imagined that I will wear the Indian jersey one day and I will play,” Ashwin told bcci.tv in an interview but did not elaborate on the remark.
It’s all about confidence: Axar
It was a long wait for Axar Patel and it didn’t help that everyone around him had just one question for the past three years — “Why aren’t you in the Indian team?” But Patel was unfazed as he knew his time would come. “I think it’s all about confidence,” said the 27-year-old who wanted to be a mechanical engineer growing up but was prodded into trying his hand at cricket by a school friend. With his record 11 wickets in the Day-Night third Test against England, the left-arm spinner finally found his big moment in international cricket, seven years after he made his India debut in an ODI against Bangladesh. In this series, he made it because Ravindra Jadeja was out injured. “I have been out of the team for three years and at that time, I used to think about the areas of my game which need to be worked upon. So, I was working on my bowling and batting,” he told Hardik Pandya in a bcci.tv interview. “When you are out of the team, many people, friends keep asking you ‘why aren’t you in the team despite doing well?’ These things keep coming in the mind,” said the bowler who has 152 wickets in 41 first-class game at an impressive average of 25.25. “So, I told myself ‘just wait for the right time and whenever I get an opportunity I will give my 100 per cent’.” PTI