Monday, November 12, 2007

HOMING ON THE FACTS

South Africa won their test match at the Wanderers in Johannesburg by taking advantage of the home conditions. The pace and the bounce proved too much for the visiting Kiwis. Home conditions played a role too in the win of Australia over Sri Lanka in Brisbane. The bowlers and the batsmen of the home team deserve all the appreciation.

England managed to beat the Aussies in the Ashes of 2005 and it was the English bowlers who proved to be the decisive factor. Call it reverse swing or not, the swing generated by the likes of Simon Jones proved to be the undoing of the Aussies.

New Zealand is always a tough proposition when it comes to playing them at home. Teams from the subcontinent are often at sea when it comes to the rising ball.

In their pomp, the West Indies bowlers succeeded everywhere and at home they were truly devastating. It is an entirely different story now.

But it is altogether different when it comes to the teams from the subcontinent in general and India in particular. The wins are never attributed to the skills of the players. The pitches are given all the dubious credit. Cricket analysts who are otherwise balanced seem to lose their judgment once the results go in the direction of the home team. Seemingly, it gives more delight to watch a batsman duck to a bouncer than be fooled by the spinning ball.

What is appalling is the fact that the local media also takes jibes at the pitches. The statisticians take delight in calling batsmen ‘fat track bullies’. It is quite another thing when batsmen from teams outside of the subcontinent fail to tackle the spin. The pitch is blamed. The spin bowlers are not at all given the credit. Of course, even a mediocre spinner like Ashley Giles is praised for his acumen when bowling on the wickets of the subcontinent.

Things have gone to such a pass that the cricket administration has appointed a committee to look after the pitches and produce wickets that are more suitable to the visiting teams!

Home teams have always taken the advantage of the conditions and this is something that is not peculiar to cricket alone. Of course, to be fair, good teams possess the talent and the skill to beat any opponent anywhere, be it at home or away.

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