Rohit calls out ICC for double standards in rating pitches – ‘Hope they keep their ears and eyes open’

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Rohit Sharma has called out the ICC and the match referees for what he sees as double standards at rating pitches. After winning the shortest Test in the history of the game, thanks to a lottery pitch loaded too heavily in the favour of the seam bowlers, Rohit was scathing about the slander against pitches in India, which don’t go the distance.

“I mean, we saw what happened in this match, how the pitch played and stuff like that,” Rohit said. “I honestly don’t mind playing on pitches like this. As long as everyone keeps their mouth shut in India and don’t talk too much about Indian pitches, honestly.

“Because you come here [in Test cricket] to challenge yourself. Yes, it is dangerous. It is challenging. So, and when people come to India, it is again pretty challenging as well. Look, when you are here to play Test cricket, we talk about Test cricket, the ultimate prize, Test cricket being the pinnacle and stuff like that. I think it’s important that we also stand by it.

“When you are put up against, a challenge like that, you come and face it. That’s what happens in India, but, in India on day one, if the pitch starts turning, people start talking about ‘Puff of dust! Puff of dust!’ There’s so much crack here on the pitch. People are not looking at that.”

Rohit singled out the match referees and some of the ratings pitches received in last year’s World Cup, held in India. “I think it’s important that we stay neutral everywhere we go,” Rohit said. “Especially the match referees. You know, some of these match referees need to keep their eye on how they rate pitches. It’s quite important.

“I still can’t believe that the World Cup final pitch was rated below average. A batsman got a hundred there in the final. How can that be a poor pitch? So these are the things the ICC, the match referees, they need to look into and start rating pitches based on what they see, not based on the countries. I think that’s quite important.

“So I hope they keep their ears open, they keep their eyes open and look into those aspects of the game. Honestly, I’m all for pitches like this. We want to challenge playing on pitches like this. We pride ourselves playing on pitches like this. Uh, but all I wanna say is be neutral.”

In the two-Test series that just concluded, South Africa didn’t bowl any spin at all. India bowled only 19 overs of it in the first Test, and none in the second innings. That is what Rohit railed against, asking why a pitch that turns on day is considered inferior to one that seams.

“Honestly, I would like to see how the pitches are rated,” Rohit said. “I want to see that. Whatever… that chart, I would love to see it, how they rate the pitches, because Mumbai, Bangalore, Cape Town, Centurion, all different venues, overhead conditions are different. The pitches deteriorate quite fast when the sun is beating down that hard on the pitch.

“And in India as well, we know that the conditions in India will spin without a doubt, but obviously people don’t like it because it spins from day one. But that’s not the point. If the ball seams from ball one, that’s okay, right, for everyone? That’s not fair. The ball starts spinning from ball one, it should be okay, in my opinion.

“Otherwise, you stay neutral, and you start rating these kind of pitches also bad, because if you want the ball only to seam and not turn, in my opinion, that is absolutely wrong. So that’s my judgment, that’s my opinion on it. I’ll stick by it because I’ve seen enough of cricket now and I’ve seen enough of how these match referees and the ICC looks into these ratings. I have no issues in how they want to rate, but stay neutral to everything that you do.”

Sidharth Monga is a senior writer at ESPNcricinfo

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