Graeme Smith hopes for more India and England series-
Cricket South Africa's director and former South African cricketing legend Graeme Smith hopes to schedule more India and England series this cycle because of financial losses incurred by the cancellation of the Australia Test series and the Covid-19 pandemic. He said- " Even if we don't win at the ICC - I don't think there's any precedent for it - the message is loud and clear," Smith, CSA's director of cricket, said on commentary during Wednesday's matches in the franchise T20 tournament at Kingsmead. "It's important that the members get together and support each other and try and find ways to get as much done as we possibly can. That added to the disappointment of Australia. Everyone [else] we've worked with has had that mindset and understood that. My sense is that Australia didn't, and that's what let us down. No matter what we offered them I doubt we would have been able to get them over the line."
He added- " "Myself and Sourav go a long way back, and we've had a number of conversations," Smith said. "India in particular has been very supportive of us. Hopefully, in the next cycle, we'll have a number of tours against India that are pretty close to being finalised, actually. ECB chief executive Tom Harrison and the ECB have been brilliant as well. Even the way Tom handled the situation from behind the scenes in December with England was good. Those matches have already been rescheduled though not announced. There's been a joint resolution and an understanding of that. Australia has been the one that's stood out in terms of difficulties. We never found the same sense of working together that we did with the other two. So there are things that need to be improved and we've got to ask some hard questions of them and challenge them. That's important for world cricket."
Smith also talked about the challenging times for CSA- " There've been a number of suspensions in the leadership of CSA so the workload has certainly increased. We find ourselves doing jobs we weren't employed to do. But we're picking up the can and trying to get CSA moving in the right direction. When I got involved in December I didn't think it could get any worse, and we've certainly found ourselves in more challenging spaces after that. We've ridden quite a big wave behind the scenes. Now the objective is to push forward and take us out of the dark position we've been in."
India's veteran batsman Rohit Sharma talks about adjusting to the pink SG ball as a batsman-
India's veteran batsman Rohit Sharma was the leading run-scorer for India in the low-scoring affair in the 3rd PayTM Test match betwixt India and England which finished in 2 days. He scored 67 in the first innings and remained not-out on 25 when he and Shubman Gill led India to a famous 10 wicket victory at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera, Ahmedabad. Here is what he said- " "We pretty much had no idea what it's (pink ball) going to do to the spinners. So it was good to understand the pace of the SG pink ball," Rohit said after India's 10-wicket win. "When you play the red ball, it doesn't come so quickly onto the bat. Whenever we play the next one, we need to make slight adjustments against the pink ball."
He added- "It's also got to do with the conditions in the evening. The temperature goes down a degree or two plus there's the dew factor as well. But all in all, the pace of the pink ball is slightly quicker than the red ball. It is something that we need to adjust to as quickly as possible and understand what we need to do. (Because) whenever we play a pink-ball Test in India, it is going to behave like that. The pitch was completely fine. It seems a very normal pitch to me. It is a typical Indian wicket where it will turn and the odd ball might come in. That's what Indian wickets are all about. We made mistakes from our side, need to understand which shots to play" He talked about the differences betwixt this pitch and the one dished out in the 2nd Test in Chennai- " In Chennai, we saw every ball was turning from the rough. There was no rough here. Axar (Patel) got most of his wickets with deliveries that were just skidding onto the bat and the batsmen just missed the line. We did the same. Some of the shots we played as a batting unit were not up to the skills we have. "
The Indian skipper said this in the post-match presentation- " I don't think the quality of batting was at all up to standard from both teams to be very honest. I know they got bundled out early but even with our innings, we were 100/3 and hoping to make many more than we ended up with. Just lack of application on both sides. It's a very good pitch to bat on, especially in the first innings. We just felt that the ball was coming on nicely and the oddball was turning. It was just... I would say a below-par batting from both teams. Our bowlers were much more effective and that's why we got the result. It was bizarre that out of 30 wickets, 21 were off straight balls. I just feel it was down to a lapse of concentration or indecision or too many things going on in your head as a batter and you're playing for the turn but getting beaten on the inside. I just feel that batsmen need to trust their defence much more than they are presenting at the moment. Test cricket is all about that - you're not going to get results in two days all the time and this was a classic example of batsmen not applying themselves enough maybe and that's why such a quick game."
England's Test skipper is not impressed with the Ahmedabad pitch-
England's Test skipper, Joe Root addressed a press conference after losing emphatically to a rampant Indian home side inside 2 days. The visiting English contingent lost by 10 wickets. Joe Root said- " "It's a real shame because it's a fantastic stadium, 40,000 people have come to watch a brilliant, iconic Test match and I feel for them. They came to watch Virat Kohli face Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach and Ravichandran Ashwin against our top batsmen like Ben Stokes. I almost feel like they've been robbed. Instead, they had to watch me get wickets on there which shouldn't be the case. That's a frustration for a lot of people. The fact is it was challenging for both teams and credit to India, they outplayed us on that wicket.
"As I mentioned before the game there always has to be an element of home advantage, because that is part of the beauty of Test cricket. You go around the world playing in all these wonderful places and you have to learn to develop your game, to find different ways. If you are going to be consistently good, you have to find ways of playing on a wicket that spins, which is not quite as good for seamers. If you are going to be an all-round good squad of players, you have to be able to handle it. It's just how extreme you're willing to let the wickets be."
Root also talked about home advantage- " "There's always going to be a slight home advantage but it is a shame when you have got so many fantastic players that can't have an input into a Test match. You look at Ishant Sharma playing his 100th game, he's bowled a minimal amount of overs. Someone like Jasprit Bumrah, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, Jimmy Anderson, you're looking at some of the best bowlers in the world. And we're not getting a chance to see them play. The decision is there for the ICC to make but as players, you want to compete against the best in whatever conditions they are. But, you know, there's got to be a contest there. I honestly think the ball was a big factor in this wicket. The fact the plastic coating, the hardness of the seam compared to the red SG, meant it almost gathered pace off the wicket. If it hit the shiny side and didn't hit the seam. A lot of those wickets on both sides, the LBWs and bowleds, were due to being done for pace beaten on the inside. "
Root admitted that facing Axar Patel was too tough on this pitch- "If you look at some of the replays batsmen probably ended up in the right position but because it was gathering pace of the wicket it was difficult. Credit to Axar Patel in particular, I think he exploited that really well and found a very good method on that surface. We looked to try and play our best side in terms of utilising that pink ball. We thought the wicket would hold together better than it did. Throughout all the practice days it seamed around, it swung. The seamers looked like a threatening option. Easy in hindsight to select a different team but we wanted to play our seamers which we feel is a big strength of ours."
Root wanted the 3rd umpire process to be consistent- " We wanted the process to be consistent. Not just for us for both teams. I just wanted the opportunity to look at more than one camera angle and we had seen in the previous game that things weren't checked for as long as they could have. We had a good conversation with the match ref at the end of the day. It was a good conversation and they took on board what we had to say and hopefully, that improves things moving forward. It is challenging, it's been tough. You can see it's been tough for their guys as well and they're more used to these conditions. But we've got to keep trying to find a way, keep looking to explore and experiment. Not be shy and look forward to the challenge of it, embrace the surroundings we're in and see it as a way of developing as a player. The real test for us in the next few days is can we get that mindset shifted and our approach exactly where we want it to be as it was in that first game? It's one of the challenges of playing a long series. If you do lose two consecutive games, can you make sure there's no hangover effect, can you make sure you don't have any scars going into the next game? It's a big learner if we are going to be serious contenders as the No. 1 team in the world. We've got to take that challenge on and make sure we're growing as a team all the time."