New Delhi, December 23: Iconic batsman Sachin Tendulkar on Sunday (December 23) joined a host of former players in slamming average rating given to the Perth stadium pitch, saying only such tracks can revive Test cricket.
The ICC had rated it an average pitch at the Optus stadium, which hosted the second Test between India and Australia. "Pitches play a crucial role, especially in Test cricket. In order to revive Test cricket and generate excitement, we need to provide more pitches like the one at Perth, where the skills of batsmen and bowlers are truly TESTed," he wrote on his official Twitter handle.
"This pitch was by no means "Average"," said the 45-year-old former master batsman who retired in 2013 after playing 200 Tests with 15921 runs and 51 centuries in his kitty.
Pitches play a crucial role, especially in Test cricket. In order to revive Test cricket and generate excitement, we need to provide more pitches like the one at Perth, where the skills of batsmen and bowlers are truly TESTed. This pitch was by no means “Average”.— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) December 23, 2018
Match referee Ranjan Madugalle had rated the pitch at Perth Stadium as 'average', the lowest pass mark provided by the ICC when they assess the pitch and outfield of Test grounds. Australia had defeated India by 146 runs on the fifth and final day of the second Test at the Perth Stadium.
Other Test greats like Shane Warne, Mitchell Johnson and Michael Vaughan have also criticised the ICC's decision. "Someone has to be accountable for this terrible decision & everyone needs to know who that is! Because they are wrong - as it was a wonderful cricket pitch & a great contest between bat & ball, plus the good players got runs - the rest struggled ! Ridiculous," Warne tweeted.
And they wonder why Test Match cricket is struggling .. Was a tremendously exciting pitch which had a bit for everyone .. Should be more like this IMO .. https://t.co/c5jx99oQfO— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) December 21, 2018
Pacer Mitchell Starc, who took five wickets in Perth in the second Test, said the ICC decision was "harsh". "You had a fantastic Test match over five days, a fantastic battle between ball and bat which is what you want. I think that was a bit harsh, I'd say, and the fact it was such an exciting Test match that's what you want to promote. You want to see wickets like that in the future," he said.
"Test cricket isn't meant to be comfortable, I know it's a batters' game, but that's what makes the game exciting. If you look at the match here last year where the wicket did nothing, it was a pretty boring Test match. If wickets are closer to what we saw in Perth it will create more exciting Test matches and you'll get more people watching," said Starc.
Match referees speak to both captains and umpires before finalising their post-match reports, but another Australia pacer Josh Hazlewood suggested the consultations could be extended to all players and possibly even the public, saying the 22 players on the field would be in the best position to judge how a pitch performs.
Someone has to be accountable for this terrible decision & everyone needs to know who that is ! Because they are wrong - as it was a wonderful cricket pitch & a great contest between bat & ball, plus the good players got runs - the rest struggled ! Ridiculous..... https://t.co/iAdcFOtq0o— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) December 22, 2018
"I think rather than one person giving the rating, maybe votes go around to the players or staff or anyone involved. You'd get a broader collective feedback from players. Even a public poll could get some good feedback or some bad feedback," he said.
The 'average' rating for Perth was presumably due to the uneven bounce that became more prevalent later in the match but Hazlewood denied the inconsistent bounce was dangerous for the players. "I know a couple of people got hit in the head and shoulders, but it's Test cricket. You're bowling 140kph, guys are going to get hit on any wicket," he said.