Dilip Vengsarkar has criticized the Wanderers pitch for offering uneven bounce and called the wicket dangerous for playing cricket and at the same time, appealed the ICC to take notice of the same. He has also added that India's overconfidence before the South African tour cost them the series.
The much-awaited Test series between India and South Africa ended with the hosts winning by a 2-1 margin but all the talk about the wicket in the final Test has refused to die down. Almost everyone criticized the wicket which was offering extra bounce with players taking unnecessary hits to their bodies. Vengsarkar was also critical of the track and suggested that the ICC should allow a squad of neutral curators to prepare the pitches.
"Wickets in South Africa were way poor. This is the time for ICC (International Cricket Council) to take notice and choose neutral curators, who would oversee the preparation of wickets across the world. When the ICC has neutral umpires, it's time for neutral curators too," said Vengsarkar as quoted by TOI.
The pitch started behaving unusually from the third day of the Test and the Indians braved the treacherous conditions to put up a target of 241 for the hosts. Murali Vijay bore most of the brunt as he took as many as five blows to the body along with countless hits to the gloves. Ironically, it was a Jasprit Bumrah short delivery, that bounced exactly as much has it should have, that raised alarms as it hit Dean Elgar on the helmet which resulted in the day coming to a premature end.
"The third Test match was close to being called off. I am sure the ICC will pull up South African cricket. The pitch was dangerous and would have harmed the players physically. There could have been fatal injuries. Such wickets should not be allowed anywhere," said Vengsarkar.
There has been a lot of criticism with the way the home side prepares wickets, which results in them having a huge advantage in the match. After South Africa, Vengsarkar also targeted India and said they also focused on preparing pitches which fulfil their own interests.
"People always complain when they tour India that they have to face under-prepared wickets. You see (off-spinner) Ravichandran Ashwin bowling the first over in a Test match which is very disappointing. (As an off-spinner) Ashwin should come into play in the fourth or fifth day. When he is bowling the first over, it's not a good advertisement for Test cricket," he said.
"If you want to attract the crowd, you must have a wicket with bounce which helps batsmen, bowlers, and spinners. People would like to pay for that and watch quality cricket."
After a successful year, the Virat Kohli-led team reached South Africa and everyone was expecting the team to carry on their winning home momentum in the overseas conditions as well. However, the side received two losses in the first two matches to make the third one a dead rubber. The team managed to win the Johannesburg Test but according to Vengsarkar, the team could produce a far better performance than the eventual result.
"Overall, India's batting failed. There were opportunities to win the matches in both the Test. If the batsmen had applied themselves, results would have been different. The bowlers did an excellent job right through.
"To be honest, we went to South Africa with a lot of overconfidence because we did so well the entire year when we were playing at home and winning everything.