Reacting strongly to Sunil Gavaskar's comments on Saurashtra Cricket Association's (SCA) home pitches during their Ranji Trophy matches this season, Niranjan Shah, honorary secretary of SCA, said it was really sad that the legend had made such "irresponsible comments".
"I respect him for whatever he has achieved in cricket but that doesn't give him the liberty to say whatever he wants. I strongly object to whatever he has said and also condemn his irresponsible comments which are not in keeping with the stature that he enjoys in world cricket," said Shah.
The former India skipper had criticized Saurashtra's home pitches during the Ranji Trophy matches this season, where two of the three matches got over in two days and one barely limped into the third. Ravindra Jadeja picked 37 wickets in three games with figures of 11 for 72 against Tripura, 13 for 126 against Jharkhand and 13 for 135 against Hyderabad. Saurashtra won all three matches to be placed on top of the Group C table with 19 points while Jadeja was recalled to the Indian Test squad.
Gavaskar, while talking to a news channel, said: "We have just had a case where Saurashtra have won three of their Ranji Trophy matches in two days with Ravindra Jadeja opening the bowling. He is turning the ball square, picking up, I think, 25 wickets in three matches. He is now in the Test team, Saurashtra are at the top of the table. As soon as a team scores 600 or 700 an inspector should be sent to the ground and he should be asked to make a report. And if he gives a negative report, which in Indian cricket will take lot of guts to do, then action needs to be taken against that particular association and not necessarily in terms of fines. I think the best way would be to deduct points. That will ensure not too many doctored pitches are made in domestic cricket."
Reacting to this, Shah said: "How can he call it 'doctored pitches' when more than 250-300 runs were scored everyday? One team scores 300 plus runs and the other team is bowled out for 60 and 90 - is this what happens on a doctored pitch?"
Shah also said that as the strongest team in the group they are bound to perform better than the opposition here. "People shouldn't forget that we are the strongest team in Group C, so when a strong team plays against a weak team matches are definitely going to be one-sided and may finish inside three days. What is the big deal," said the former BCCI secretary.
Recalling few instances of the past, Shah said: "I still remember the days when Mumbai used to prepare green tops for matches against us (Saurashtra) and the match would be over in two days Were those doctored wickets? We never complained. You make green tops and matches get over in two days then it is not a problem, but if the track helps spin then you call it underprepared. And Gavaskar shouldn't forget that even he has asked for turning tracks to win Test series when he was the captain.
"I agree that the wickets where we played our matches were turning tracks. They were by no means underprepared. Not a single delivery turned or jumped dangerously. In the match against Hyderabad, we were bowled out for 102 in the first innings. Hyderabad got the first innings lead but lost the game. It was a game which could have turned either way, so will we doctor a track to lose?" said Shah.
"On sporting tracks, a good player or a good team will always thrive. It is better than having a flat track where any Tom, Dick and Harry can score hundreds. Nowadays batsmen have forgotten the art of playing good spin bowling or good fast bowling. So the moment there is some thing in the wicket they are all at sea and start complaining. They always want a wicket where they can close their eyes and play strokes," he added.
Courtesy: The Times of India