Busting an unconfirmed report that was published in one section of the media, India Head Coach Ravi Shastri made it amply clear that the nature of the pitch is neither a concern nor an issue for this Indian unit.
According to a news report in the BCCI website, having walked the talk in South Africa, where the Indian team beat the home side in the third Test at Johannesburg on a surface with uneven bounce, Shastri said that his boys never make a fuss about the conditions Play was halted for 19 minutes during the Wanderers Test after the umpires were worried about the safety of the players.
After the Indian team management decided to cut their four-day practice game against Essex to three days on Tuesday, a report said that the decision was prompted after taking a look at the pitch and the outfield.
The India Head Coach made it clear that there was no merit in the report. “There was no complaint from the Indian management about anything. On this entire trip, you will never see an Indian team giving excuses with regards to conditions or the pitch.
In fact, it was he who insisted that no changes to the pitch must be made. “The pitch? It is good. The groundsman asked me there was enough grass on, do you want the grass to be taken off? I said absolutely not. It is your prerogative. What you give us, we play. I said leave it. There was grass there, so don’t take anything off.
“Our challenge is to beat the opposition. We take pride in performing wherever we go. We want to be the best travelling side in the word. So the last person who will make a complaint will be this Indian team.”
The former India captain said he had a simple policy of not interfering and expected the same from touring sides. “My philosophy is very simple – (in) your country, I don’t ask questions (about the pitch). You don’t ask questions when you come to my country”
Explaining further as to why the team wanted a three-day game, Shastri said, “It was because of the logistics and the (conditions) that were prevailing. We had an opportunity to practise three days in Birmingham, which is the Test match venue. If we had played four days here, we would have lost that one day because of travel.
“The prerogative whether to play a two-day game, three-day game, four-day game, lies entirely with the visiting team so it was decided yesterday. We were ready to even play a two-day game and use that one day (third) for a full day of practice here, the centre pitch. But when they explained about the tickets we said fine well play a three-day game. And travel on Saturday to be able to practice on Sunday.”