The question on everybody’s lips concerning the spectacular third Test between India and Australia is still unanswered: Was the pitch in Indore truly to blame for the spin-induced carnage? Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) certainly thinks not and pointed the finger at BCCI and Indian team management. During the match, 31 wickets fell in seven sessions, 26 by spinners, prompting the International Cricket Council to later deem it “poor” and hand out three demerit points. Notwithstanding this controversy, Australia nonetheless emerged triumphant with a nine-wicket victory following some stellar bowling from their informed captain Steve Smith. Despite widespread criticism of how things unfolded during this match, Smith was lauded for his tactical acumen in leading Australia to just their second win on Indian soil in six years. With one day left before the final tie in Ahmedabad kicks off, it appears all questions are set to be answered, as cricket fans eagerly anticipate one final riveting chapter of the Border-Gavaskar series!
The International Cricket Council (ICC) Match Referee Chris Broad’s post-match comments regarding the pitch at Indore’s Holkar Stadium were anything but positive, citing excessive dryness as a major drawback that favored spin bowlers from the start. The Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) President Abhilash Khandekar was quick to point out that this “poor” verdict did not indicate responsibility for the state cricket association, emphasizing instead the lack of expertise in preparing pitches among grounds staff. This comes at a critical moment for Indore’s Holkar stadium, with reports indicating that it is danger of facing suspension after being highlighted in ICC’s most recent notice. With severe consequences on the horizon, all eyes are now firmly focused on Holkar stadium and what MPCA can do to avert disaster.
Speaking to Times of India, M.P.CA Secretary Milind Khandekar clarified that the responsibility for preparing the pitch before the match in Indore rested solely with two BCCI-appointed curators, who had arrived more than a week prior. He emphatically stated that the MPCA had no part in making the pitch and simply followed directions from both the BCCI and Indian team officials. Khandekar clarified that this was typical procedure anytime an international match was held and emphasized that they take no part in making pitches for these matches. His words made it abundantly clear who was responsible for setting up what would ultimately be a controversial pitch.
The Managing Director of the Maharashtra Cricket Association, Ramesh Khandekar, responded to criticism over the match between India and South Africa finishing in three days due to an under-prepared pitch. Khandekar remained unfazed, claiming that similar matches have been seen before in other parts of the country and that both teams’ captains had offered their support for the MPCA’s decision regarding the pitch. Khandekar’s response serves as a reminder that although difficult decisions must be made for a successful outcome, there is little point in questioning them retrospectively.