NEW DELHI: Former India allrounder Mohinder Amarnath believes that the International Cricket Council (ICC) must keep a close watch on the quality of pitches being prepared, in the aftermath of the controversy that arose from the ‘poor’ rated Wanderers track that caused inconsistent, exaggerated bounce and excessive seam movement.
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India won the third Test to finish the series 1-2, and Amarnath felt that the final outcome could have been better had their batsmen prepared better for the series and followed the example of Virat Kohli, who was the only player on either side to manage a century.
“With a little luck in the earlier games, India might have won the series. The pitches right through the series were not really great for international cricket and I think the ICC should look into the type of pitches used, not only in this, but in all series, to ensure that the pitches are of a good nature so that one can get a good five days of cricket,” wrote Amarnath, who was part of India’s World Cup-winning team of 1983.
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Amarnath felt that Kohli’s team would hopefully have learned from the Test series that their preparation when it comes to batting ahead of tough overseas tours to South Africa, England and Australia had to be better. In his view, the other batsmen would do well to take a leaf out of Kohli’s book – the Indian skipper was the highest run-getter with 286 at an average of 47.66, having scored the solitary century of the three-match series. India’s next best was Hardik Pandya with 119, of which 93 came in his first innings of the tour.
“I was always sure about the bowlers doing well; it’s the batting that was going to be challenged. The batsmen need to take a leaf out of Virat’s book, and apply themselves the way he did,” wrote Amarnath, who scored 4378 Test runs with 11 centuries. “He was the standout player for me, a class apart, showing temperament, technique, and spirit, and that aggression is the best defence on difficult tracks and against some really good fast bowling. This is how the rest have to go about the game: play their shots, score runs or things are not going to work. Aggression and positivity are the two things needed to do well abroad.”
He also praised the bowlers, who managed to take all 20 South African wickets in each Test. Mohammed Shami finished with 15 wickets in three matches, Jasprit Burma with 14 from three and Bhuvneshwar Kumar 10 from two.
“Bhuvneshwar was absolutely fantastic in the two matches he played. He was spot on with his length and control, and also contributed with the bat. Shami was also exceptional, as was Bumrah. On the whole, the bowlers played their part well. The good thing is that India has pace bowlers with variety, and consistency has been the key to their success. So it’s a good sign for India going forward on their overseas tours,” wrote Amarnath.
India now play South Africa in a six-ODI contest starting Thursday. Amarnath felt the playing field was level in this format, and that Kohli’s team would have a spring in their step after winning the final Test.
“This win is a good one for India to take into the ODI series. They are a fantastic one-day side, and they’ve shown that around the world. The white ball makes all the difference, and I’m sure the wickets will be pretty good,” wrote the 67-year-old. “There isn’t much difference between the two sides, but I still feel that India have the edge. They have a good all-round side and I’m hoping they will do well in the one-dayers.”