The World Cup has not even started but the complaints have already begun from the touring parties around the nature of the tracks. Two days into the warm-up games, there have been three captains who have raised the issue of the lack of bounce and pace and spin-friendliness of two of the pitches down south.
In the game between Zimbabwe and South Africa, it was Elton Chigumbura and Graeme Smith who expressed their surprise over the manner in which the track at the Chepauk behaved. In the game, Zimbabwe had batted first and were bowled out cheaply while South Africa had no issues in getting to the target.
The other game in question was the one between India and Australia. India’s 214 was met with a 118/1 response by Australia before they lost their last nine wickets for 58 runs and lost the game when they should have gone on to win it. Ponting said that the track was under-prepared and hoped for better tracks for the rest of the tournament.
So what was it all about? Sour grapes? Or a genuine concern for his batsmen on tracks which will assist spin and make life miserable for the side? Or were the tracks really that bad that an international should be played on it?
Personally, I feel that in a tournament like the World Cup, the teams should be expected to be prepared for any kind of circumstances. For example when the World T20 of West Indies and England had seen the Indian team face up to the bouncers and other short balls, it was evident that the problem was with the batting of the Indian team – not with the tracks. Similarly, if a side fails to bat well on a spinning track, it is difficult to see how the captains can blame the pitches.
You got to bat in a manner that will ensure that they give themselves the best chance to win the game. Unfortunately for the Aussies, their batting was not only poor but gave an impression of having forgotten the basics of how to bat on tracks which will assist spin bowlers.
And that is sad. Either way, the pitches been changed to ensure that the batting finds it easy or for Australia to capitulate in the manner they did if the pitch supports spin will both be equally bad for the game and the tournament in general.