BGT 2023 | Twitter engages in fierce debate over potential pitch tampering in Nagpur for 1st Test
The Nagpur pitch was caught looking blatantly different on either half due to selective treatment|
Few things in cricket can match the speculation that surrounds the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, especially when it is taking place in India given the different nature of its pitches. The hype around the series peaked on the eve of the opener after curators were seen indulging in questionable practices.
Australia are all set to embark upon a potentially era-defining series for the team as they prepare to take on India in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy starting in Nagpur on Thursday. The winner of the four-match affair would not only rise to the number one spot in ICC's Test rankings but also confirm their appearance in the World Test Championship final slated to take place at The Oval in June. On the eve of the opening encounter at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, however, the pitch came under heavy flak after renowned reporter Bharat Sundaresan revealed the manner of preparation being used for the surface which could potentially give India a major advantage heading into the clash.
"Interesting treatment of the pitch in Nagpur. The groundstaff watered the entire centre of the surface & only the length areas outside the left-hander’s leg stump & then rolled only the centre, stopping short every time they got to the good length areas at both ends," Sundaresan tweeted on Wednesday, less than 48 hours before the first ball is scheduled to be bowled.
The claims were substantiated with pictures of the pitch indicating the same, meaning the Kangaroos would have their work cut out. While India have no specialist left-handed batter after Rishabh Pant's injury ruled him out of the series, Australia boast of a plethora of southpaws who could potentially take the field in Nagpur in the form of David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, and Matt Renshaw amongst others. The off-spin of Ravichandran Ashwin is expected to be a major challenge for the visitors and dry patches on the pitch would only aid him in his efforts to dismiss batsmen.
While several Australian outlets, including Fox Sports, claimed the curators to be doctoring the pitch, the Indian contingent surmised that both sides would be up against each other on the same track and facing the same adversities. Renowned expert Harsha Bhogle even pointed out that the home teams are always supposed to have an upper hand in terms of the conditions to make Tests entertaining, further fuelling the debate on social media.
Bizarre? isn't it!
What's going on here? 🤔🤔🤔— Fox Cricket (@FoxCricket) February 7, 2023
Pictures expose bizarre Indian ploy as Aussie concerns grow over first Test pitch 👉 https://t.co/O6XuSbyG7V pic.twitter.com/OHEGP4VWRB
India vs Australia is the biggest test series I think. But sadly pitches make more noise thn test Cricket . #Savetestcricket https://t.co/V6EU2O8m1F— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) February 8, 2023
No need of this
So much talk about pitches before the game starts! For one, it is the same for both teams. And second, it has to present a challenge to the touring side. That is the essence of home and away contests.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) February 8, 2023
This is the Nagpur pitch. They gave water and rolled only the outlined portion of the pitch. This means that the pitch outside it will be super dry resulting in high spin. And if you see those spots are the leftie's off stump from both sides.— Harshit (@_offthemark_) February 8, 2023
Australia has 6 lefties in Top 8 🗿⚰️ pic.twitter.com/rOCZ74x8gi
imagine aus doing it in aus as they know india has many right handers , ind has done this in nagpur pitch pic.twitter.com/bXrxKsaJWn— maddy (@sharmamaddy4321) February 8, 2023
Why Aussie Media is keep viral the pics of Pitch at Nagpur , at end of the day Both the Team have to play on same surface,Remember its been more than 100 years of cricket now please develop spinners and stop complaining about Pitch #nagpurtest #NagpurPitch #INDvsAUS— Dishant Yagnik (@Dishantyagnik77) February 8, 2023
Same for everyone!
The classic thing said about pitches is "It'll be the same for everyone". Can't see the same being said for this Nagpur track.— Anshul Ranade (@theAnshulRanade) February 8, 2023
Absolutely no qualms with India producing rank turners, but specifically doctoring them to make left handed batting impossible seems particularly brazen. pic.twitter.com/11fdu5zgfO
UPDATE: Some new ‘general maintenance’ has been spotted on the Nagpur pitch 👀. pic.twitter.com/CfQdhbvVo0— Sportsbet.com.au (@sportsbetcomau) February 8, 2023
VCA Jamtha pitch in Nagpur centre of attraction for visiting Aussies on the eve of the 1st Test #INDvsAUS #BorderGavaskarTrophy @indraneel0 @NewIndianXpress pic.twitter.com/lXXlc60ntM— firoz mirza (@scribefiroz237) February 8, 2023
Early to judge
Seeing a lot of (mostly speculative) talk about the Nagpur pitch.— In my refocus era (@sangeetapremi) February 8, 2023
Preparing a pitch that works to the advantage of the home team is perfectly acceptable.
The tourists will work out a counter-plan too.
Also, it's too early to judge the pitch before even a ball has been bowled.