India lost the first Test of the four-match match series by 333 runs and was a big hiccup in what has been a flawless domestic season for the top-ranked Test side in the world. But the pitch once again, for the first time since the South Africa series, drew ire and criticism for turning square from day one. The effects of it were felt from the start as 40 wickets fell in three days with India on the wrong side of the result.
Chris Broad, the match referee for the Test wrote in his report, “The report has been forwarded to the Board of Control for Cricket in India, which now has 14 days to provide its response,” said the ICC release after calling the pitch as “poor”.
Broad, in accordance with Clause 3 of the ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process, submitted his report in which he expressed concern over the quality of the pitch. The BCCI’s response will be reviewed by ICC’s General Manager – Cricket, Geoff Allardice, and Ranjan Madugalle from the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees.
Last time an Indian pitch was criticised was when the Nagpur surface played a role in South Africa collapsing and the Test ending in three days back in 2015. Then, the Jamtha pitch, had resulted in South Africa being bowled out for 79 and 185 with a 124 run win for India.
In a report by Indian Express, the curators have claimed that the Indian team management and some sections of the Board of Control for Cricket in India “hijacked the Pune pitch” and forced them to change its nature. This tied the hands of chief BCCI curators Daljit Singh and Dhiraj Parsana who were present at the MCA Stadium and were made to follow orders despite reluctance. The pitch was left dry and bald and it wasn’t watered to make it difficult for the batsman – as it turned out to be the case at large.