Dear Michael Vaughan, wait a little before giving your verdict on Indian pitches
Former England captain and leading cricket commentator Michael Vaughan is known for his blunt remarks on various cricket-related issues. The skipper of the famous 2005 Ashes-winning English team often puts out tweets that provokes a strong reaction or inspires a vigorous debate.
In the latest salvo fired by Vaughan, he has deemed pitches in India for Test cricket as 'boring.' This comes after the Indian team put itself in a very strong position in the second Test against South Africa. Led by a century from Virat Kohli, the host side is well on its way to putting up a huge score that will essentially secure them from a loss in this Test.
Speaking on his account, Vaughan wrote: "Test Match Cricket pitches in India are boring ...the first 3/4 days, the contest is far too (much) in favour of the bat ...needs more action for the bowler...my thought of the day."
While there is no doubt that pitches which are one-sided in favour of the batsmen do produce boring cricket, the former England captain should remember that old adage about tracks – Never judge a pitch until both teams have batted on it. Yes, India are piling up the runs, but there is no guarantee that South Africa would manage to do the same.
When Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja get going on this pitch, things may start happening very quickly. What's more, it's not just the Indian spinners that seem to make an impact in Indian conditions. Mohammad Shami picked up a five-for in the second innings of the last match, showing the value of reverse swing in these conditions.
Pitches have been a major issue in international cricket over the last decade, especially in Asia. More and more teams from the subcontinent have tried to gain a substantial advantage over their opponents from far-away countries by producing dustbowls. This has led to a counter-reaction from non-Asian countries who have prepared green tops when playing at home.
It seems like Vaughan would not have found pitches in the previous Test series between India and South Africa in the former country boring. That series, in 2015, was played on dry dustbowls where the turn extracted by the spinners was enormous. In return, the Proteas also prepared highly seamer-friendly green-tops while hosting Kohli's team in early 2018.
At this stage of the game, when we have seen only one innings, it's a bit premature to pronounce the pitch for this match as 'boring.' Let us wait and see if the South Africans also produce an equally good batting performance.