Mumbai, Mar 7: Tamil Nadu coach WV Raman says he's a bit puzzled whenever he hears a cricket track being described as a 'sporting pitch' and wants to know what is exactly meant by this often-used term.
"I want somebody to explain to me what exactly a sporting wicket is," Raman said at the Wankhede Stadium here ahead of TN's five-day final against defending champions Karnataka starting tomorrow.
"If you are talking about a well-prepared seaming track, why should there be any fuss with a well-prepared turning track? Somebody must answer that for me," said the former India opener.
He also put it wryly that no one seems to be worried when in Test matches hosted in India the ball starts turning from very early on in the game, but when it happens in domestic cricket then questions are asked why it is so.
"Anyway, at the end of the day, when we play international cricket (at home), the ball starts spinning from the second over, in a five-day game. On the other hand, if you look at it, we lose wickets to spinners like Moeen Ali (of England) at the top-level. You need skills to play on all surfaces.
'Sporting pitch according to their convenience'
"Where it all gets skewed is people suddenly use the phrase 'sporting pitch' according to their convenience or their individual perception. That's when it all goes awry," he explained further.
"I am not being critical of any individual here. I will anyway prefer pitches with bounce all the four days. I am not talking about lateral movement. If there is enough bounce at large right through the duration of the game, you will see good bowlers succeed.
"If you look at a larger picture, these so-called seaming tracks and encouragement for fast bowlers, what has it produced for you except skewed figures? You have a lot of bowlers with 40-50 wickets, you can't blame them.
"But, otherwise, in terms of the overall scenario, what exactly has it delivered for you? You still have four-five fast bowlers in the Indian team who were there even before the 8mm-grass directive came. And you haven't had any new batsmen forcing their way into the team. It's all about how we perceive things," he elaborated.
'Terrible experience at a neutral venue'
Talking about neutral venues, the former left-handed all-rounder recalled some of his less-than-satisfying experiences.
"I have had a terrible experience at a neutral venue. When there were rains, the grounds men started taking off the water from on top of the covers with a tea glass and then they started pouring it where the cover fielder was to stand. What do you say about that! This has happened at a neutral venue," he recalled.
"It is not a question of guidelines. If you pick five-six leading centres based on their recent set-up and make-up - not the administrative part but the facilities and infrastructure - I don't think you should have any issues. The basic structure of pitches is not going to change," he added.
On the Wankhede track prepared for the final Raman said it looked a typical one at this ground. "It's all about not trying to look into things and read into things. It's a question of going out there and responding to the situations, as simple as that," was his philosophy ahead of the game.