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India vs England 2021: English Criticism of Chepauk Pitch Valid? Or It's Just an Overreaction

A snapshot of the Chepauk Stadium in Chennai.

A snapshot of the Chepauk Stadium in Chennai.

The Chepauk pitch has polarised the whole cricketing world. Here is a compilation of all the reactions so far from Indian and English sides.

How many times have we gone down this road? Test match in India, Test match on a dust-bowl, puff of dust right from day one and then words starts flying off the pitch. India vs England second Test match is going down that familiar script. And now as England find themselves on the wrong side of the playing conditions, as is the case with the visiting teams for years, former English cricketers have admonished the pitch, the curators and the home board–BCCI.

Former England cricketers David Llyod is no mood for an argument, he says the pitch is an ’embarrassment.’

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“It should be an embarrassment to whoever has produced it and to the home board. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy pitches that turn from day one. No problem.  But it has to have a surface. All that’s happened here is someone has put three stumps at both ends and said ‘off you go.’ he added.

Meanwhile former England captain Michael Vaughan seconded Lloyd on this one, saying Chepauk pitch is nothing short of a ‘beach’ as England lost the toss on day 1. Now, these two greats got support from their arch-rivals Mark Waugh and Shane Warne who were somewhat critical of the pitch.

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“I’m all for a good contest between bat and ball in test match cricket but this pitch in Chennai is unacceptable at test match level.””You can’t have the ball going through the top of the surface on day 1 from the main part of the pitch. Ie not from the footmarks,” Waugh tweeted.

Meanwhile the Indian side has taken an offense of what is currently doing the rounds on media. Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar said the pitch was challenging but not unplayable. If Rohit Sharma could score a century on that pitch, then why can’t Joe Root? He asked.

“We saw how Rohit Sharma getting 150, and yesterday he was getting close to ball and batting. This criticism (on pitch) is pretty warranted,” Gavaskar said on Star Sports. “It’s not unplayable. It’s a challenging pitch, and that’s what cricket should be about. In the first Test, on the first two days, when nothing was happening, people were saying ‘it’s boring, nothing is happening. It’s so easy to bat.’ So, there has to be a bit of balance between what is said. You cannot be complaining all the time.”

Indian spinner Ravi Ashwin who grabbed a fiffer on the pitch had a different take: “I don’t know if they have complaints. If they do, it’s quite natural for people to come up against adverse conditions and then be taken aback by it. In all honesty, in the 7 days of Test cricket we have played s far, England have played really well, competed really well,” he said in post-match virtual press conference.

Well, whatever the two sides might say, one must not forget that a home team has the right to take advantage of the home conditions. England does it when India tours and now they shouldn’t be complaining when India is doing it.

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