The VCA Stadium is ridiculously situated 15 kilometres out of the city without a semblance of public transport and the pitch is equally ridiculous. How can anyone blame the Proteas for failing to bat properly on that surface?!
At least they had a comfortable bus to take them from their hotel to the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium and back again afterwards. The poor cricket loving people of Nagpur had to walk an hour or two to reach a bus route.
But really, how could the Proteas much praised and appreciated batting order do themselves justice and entertain the world on such a surface? Perhaps, like WG Grace, they should have protested. When a youngster had the temerity to bowl the great bearded batsman during an exhibition match in his honour, he replaced the bails and scowled: “The people have come to see me bat, son, not you bowl.”
Faf, Rilee, AB and Davey, all made to look like fools by the slow, low and grippy pitch. And, of course, by the cunning slower balls of Andre Russell and Dwayne Bravo – and the off spin of Chris Gayle who bowls about once a year these days.
Why couldn’t the VCA head groundsman just prepare a proper pitch with pace and bounce and some grass on it? A bit more like a South African pitch? India weren’t even playing – it’s not like back in November when India thrashed South Africa in a Test match in a pitch similar (but even worse) to this one.
It’s all very well saying that Faf knew the ball wouldn’t come onto the bat nicely when he decided to drive and that Rilee knew the cut shot was risky early on with such variation in pace, but if the pitch was a proper cricket surface then these things wouldn’t be a factor.
Why should such high quality batsmen be forced to compromise themselves on an inadequate playing surface? The people pay money to watch them thrive, not struggle.
If the groundsman could do his job properly then we wouldn’t be in this mess. Blame him, not the Proteas.
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