Flat pitch compounds Irani's existential crisis

While centurion Ganesh Satish admitted to the Jamtha pitch being “one of the flattest” pitches he has played on, veteran Wasim Jaffer, whose incredible innings of 286 at the age of 40 was the highlight of the innings, was also critical of the 22-yard strip.

The flat pitch at Jamtha made it a game that would merely add up to the numbers of the players involved.   -  PTI

 

At a time when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) intends to adopt new measures to popularise domestic cricket, the last thing it would have wanted was a placid pitch for the Irani Cup, which concluded on Sunday in a virtually inconsequential run-feast at the Vidarbha Cricket Association stadium here.

The flat pitch at Jamtha made it a game that would merely add up to the numbers of the players involved. So lop-sided were the conditions in favour of the batsmen that the bowlers — pacers or spinners — did not come into play at all.

READ: Wasim Jaffer's masterclass mesmerises Jamtha

No doubt Vidarbha was desperate to go past the Rest of India outfit — whose batting line-up appeared to have been selected based on the Ranji Trophy highest run-getters list rather than potential and batting positions — and make it a grand double for the season. But even the host did not expect such a track.

While centurion Ganesh Satish admitted to the Jamtha pitch being “one of the flattest” pitches he has played on, veteran Wasim Jaffer, whose incredible innings of 286 at the age of 40 was the highlight of the innings, was also critical of the 22-yard strip.

When Sportstar asked Jaffer if such a pitch was bad advertisement for the game, Jaffer said: “I think so. You would like to see a five-day game go on to the second innings. Any pitch where the result is decided on the toss is a bad wicket, I would say. I mean even if we had lost the toss, they would have posted a big score. I don't like any pitch where the result is decided on the toss. In general, you need to play on sporting tracks where everybody is in the game at different phases. On the first day, the fast bowlers are in the game, then the batsmanship comes into play and then, the spinners need to play a part. That's how an ideal pitch should be.”

Venue policy

After a two-year break, the BCCI allowed the Ranji champion to stage the Irani Cup tie. In fact, the BCCI wants to break away from its neutral venue policy for Ranji Trophy knockouts from next season.

But the grand failure in the Irani Cup could propel them to stick to the existing policy.

The last two Irani Cup ties were played at the Cricket Club of India's Brabourne Stadium — a venue that can never be treated as home by any domestic teams — and it produced a scintillating finish with the Rest of India chasing down a stiff target in the fourth innings. At Jamtha, five days' play resulted in 17 wickets at more than 75 runs apiece.

ALSO READ: Ganesh Satish pleased at ‘rectifying’ 2014 disappointment

The timing of the match had made it an even inconsequential affair, with the cricketing globe having already switched to the T20 mode. When the Rest of India was tottering at 100 for six, two of the six batsmen dismissed were seen having a net session with white balls.

Rather than making the players soft targets for being disinterested in the Irani tie, perhaps the BCCI should try and reinvigorate a match that has traditionally been the most important first-class structure in the domestic cricket calendar.

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