Rohit Sharma: Match referees should be neutral while rating pitches

Rohit Sharma pointed out he was comfortable playing on seamer-friendly tracks, like the one at Newlands, as long as turning tracks in the subcontinent were not discouraged.

Published : Jan 04, 2024 21:18 IST , CAPE TOWN - 2 MINS READ

Rohit Sharma plays a shot on the Day 1 of the second Test match between India and South Africa.
Rohit Sharma plays a shot on the Day 1 of the second Test match between India and South Africa. | Photo Credit: PTI

Rohit Sharma plays a shot on the Day 1 of the second Test match between India and South Africa. | Photo Credit: PTI

Rohit Sharma doesn’t mind playing on a wicket like the one at the Newlands Cricket Ground, which produced the shortest Test in history, so long as everyone accepted turning pitches in India.

“We all saw what happened in this Test and how the pitch played,” said Rohit, after leading India to a 1-1 draw in the two-match series. “It is dangerous, it is challenging. When they come to India, it will be challenging as well. When you’re here to play Test cricket, you talk about Test cricket being the ultimate prize and pinnacle, and then you should stand by it.”

Rohit said the ball would turn in India from day one. “You should come and face it. When the pitch starts to turn, they keep talking about dust and the cracks. It’s important to stay neutral, especially the match referees. I still can’t believe the World Cup final pitch was rated below average. The ICC and the referees need to start looking into it. You have to rate pitches on how they see it and not based on countries…All I want to say is be neutral… And I would like to see how a pitch is rated. I would like to see the chart, how they rate pitches.”

Looking back at India’s victory inside two days, he said the team knew it was not going to be a high-scoring game. “Once we got them all out for 55, we spoke to the batters and told them we needed small contributions from them — apply yourself even if you get hit on your body. Our batters showed a lot of grit. The first innings lead was crucial. But we never thought we would lose 6 wickets for no runs. That was disappointing,” Rohit said.

He admitted there were nerves even though India had to chase only a small target in the final innings. “Luckily, we got off to a good start. Jaiswal played freely, that’s something we discussed before going out to bat. Put the ball away.”

Rohit praised Aiden Markram’s century. “We had plans to get Markram out but he played a special innings. Jasprit Bumrah was all class. When we went out to bat, we are slightly ahead, but we still need to apply ourselves and be fearless.”

He said it was an important victory for India. “Batting is tough here,” he said. “Our youngsters would have learnt a lot from this series.”

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