Foreign pitches: A reality check
How often do we see teams doing well at home and failing miserably when they play abroad in testing conditions? The answer lies in the word “often”.
Recently, Team India opened their campaign in South Africa with a humiliating 141-run defeat in the 1st ODI, which was also South Africa's 2nd largest margin of victory against the visitors. This came after winning two back-to-back ODI and Test series at home against Australia and West Indies. A true Indian cricket fan would be delighted to watch his team dominate the opposition with such authority, be it Tests or the shorter formats of the game. But when the same team is struggling to cope with top quality bowlers running into them on unfriendly pitches, it pains to be a fan.
It is a known fact that sides in international cricket, especially India, thrive on suitable pitches for a result. After all, home advantage is an important aspect of the game. Taking advantage of naturally favourable conditions is one thing, while doctoring them to reap desirable results is another. It is here that the Indian brigade suffers. At home, spinners end up taking more wickets, batsmen out of form find their lost rhythm. The team celebrates every single victory and the fans are happy! Particularly in Test cricket, where designer pitches are one of the most primary reasons behind a team’s success.
But this kind of success does little to promote healthy competition between the home team and the visitors. In my opinion, every cricket pitch’s uniqueness lies in the way they are naturally, rather than manipulating it for your benefit. India needs sporting tracks to ensure a learning experience for the upcoming cricketers, instead of dustbowls that will only fill them with complacency. When the same cricketers play away from home, they have a tough time adapting to the conditions around them. Not only does it show how ill-prepared the team is, but also reflects on the weaknesses of every player individually. Plus, fans who expect India to win every single match after watching them victorious at home are often left disappointed.
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