It was a harsh lesson for the Australian cricket team to learn as they succumbed to a dismal defeat at the hands of India in the first Test match. Making plans to practice on the central wicket in Nagpur after their loss, it soon became apparent that things wouldn’t go as planned. The pitch had been watered by ground staff which riled up former Aussie great Ian Healy, who labelled it ‘pathetic’. While it may be seen as gamesmanship by some, it’s clear that India got one over Australia and the pressure is now on the visitors to recover from this demoralising loss and come back strong in the remaining matches.
According to news.com.au, Speaking to SEN, Healy has called on the ICC to step in and act after Australia’s efforts to practice on the used Nagpur pitch were ‘scuppered’ by the hosts. Beyond just being “embarrassing,” Healy noted that this lack of preparation is “just not good for cricket” due to its impingement of fair play and “horrible” behavior – going so far as to say that “that has to improve.” It remains uncertain whether or not the ICC will take action should this request be made, but it is clear that it could have very real implications for both international cricket and sportsmanship globally.
The Nagpur pitch has been the central talking point in the series since the start and even after the match has concluded, not much seems to have changed. Earlier, some Australian journalists and former cricketers had accused India of manipulating the pitch to their advantage, leading to a score of 400 in the first innings by Team India compared to Australia’s struggle to reach 300. With Test two of the series starting soon in New Delhi, it is expected that spinners will again play a major role due to an expectedly similar pitch surfacing as seen in Nagpur. Australia has been preparing for this challenge on their own with no practice games upon arrival but this plan may not be enough as strategies need constant refining throughout a series. With both teams uncertain about what lies ahead, it will be interesting to how both sides approach this upcoming match.