The Ahmedabad pitch came under the radar after the Pink Ball Test between India and England last week wrapped up within two days, registering itself as the shortest Test match played since the World War. While most criticised the track and urged ICC to take action, former Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan was of a different opinion, justifying his words through the 66-run knock that Rohit Sharma played in the first innings of that Test.
In an exclusive interview with India TV on Tuesday, Pathan explained that a poor pitch is one that shows invariable bounce, but the one on Ahmedabad only offered ample turn to the spinners. He then went on to praise Rohit for his gritty 96-ball 66 in the first innings which remnained the highest score by a batsman in that game.
"Too much is being said about the pitch. There shouldn't be any debate. According to me, a poor pitch is one where there is invariable bounce. There was a lot of turn on the Ahmedabad track. Ask Rohit Sharma about the pitch, he won't say anything. He batted so well on that pitch. So was he batting on a different pitch? It also comes down to the skill set of a batsman," said Irfan.
The former Indian all-rounder the acknowledged the strength of the Indian team, especially the two spinners who orchestrated the emphatic 10-wicket win in Ahmedabad. Axar Patel and R Ashwin picked 18 nwickets between themselves as India managed to take a 2-1 lead in the series. Irfan explained that the speed and variation of the two spinners helped the two spinners on the turning track.
"Overall, I feel, India played well on that pitch. Yes, the match could have gone for three or five days but would I blame the pitch for ending the game within two days? No. There are a lot of things that resulted in India's win. The bowlers - R Ashwin and Axar Patel were both brilliant. To perform well as a spinner in India, you have to deliver at a quicker rate. Bowlers who give flight to the deliveries have seldom gained success on Indian pitches. You need a spinner who has a low trajectory and can bowl at a certain pace while also displaying variations. And Indian bowlers have this skillset," he said.
Further talking about the series, he predicted that the Kohli-led side will defeat England 3-1 in the Test series and book a place in the World Test Championship (WTC) final at the Lord's.
Irfan said, "Let's bring back 1983! People are going to get a similar feeling in the India-New Zealand encounter. It's also a great opportunity for the team to avenge the 2019 World Cup semi-final defeat. The difference between two teams is very little in the T20 format but that's not the case in the Test format."
"England have good players in the shortest format of the game. They can challenge the Indian team but we are going to play at home. We know the conditions better but the margin is very little in the T20 format, so you never know. Indian fans also want to see both teams rolling out competitive games," said Irfan ahead of the five-match T20I series against England.
India and England will lock horns in five T20Is in Ahmedabad starting from March 12. The matches will be played at the newly-named Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, which also plays host to the last two games of the four-Test series.
Irfan is presently part of the Road Safety World series where he will be part of India Legends. The tornament begins from March 5 in Raipur.
"Looking forward to it. The cause behind the Road Safety World Series is definitely good. Veteran cricketers will be part of the tournament through which we will be providing the message about maintaining road safety and making people aware of it," he signed off.