Rohit Sharma slams 'double standards' of ICC match referees in rating pitches

The Indian captain said he is all for spicy tracks overseas, but only if people don’t take a hypocritical approach when a pitch starts offering turn from day one in India

File photo of Virat Kohli (left) and Rohit Sharma
File photo of Virat Kohli (left) and Rohit Sharma


India captain Rohit Sharma has urged International Cricket Council (ICC) match referees to take a more “neutral” approach on rating pitches outside the Indian sub-continent after leading his team to victory against South Africa in the shortest ever Test match on a bouncy Newlands track.

India beat South Africa by seven wickets in a match that lasted only 106.2 overs, beating a 92-year-record when Australia took a total of just over 109 overs to beat the Proteas at the MCG back in 1932.

Carrying a bright red inflammation on his right bicep after being hit by a mean bouncer, the Indian captain said he is all for spicy tracks overseas but only if people don’t take a hypocritical approach when the pitch starts offering turn from the first hour on day one.

“We all saw what happened in this test and how the pitch played. I honestly don’t mind playing on pitches like these. As long as everyone keeps their mouth shut when they come to India. Yes, it is dangerous, it is challenging. When they come to India, it’s challenging as well,” was Rohit’s reply to a PTI query.

He believes it is high time people started realising that every country has its own character as far as pitches are concerned. “When you’re here to play Test cricket, you talk about Test cricket as the ultimate prize and pinnacle, then you should stand by it. You should come and face it. In India, from day one the pitch starts turning, and they keep talking about ‘puff of dust, puff of dust’. Here, there were cracks,” the skipper said.

Former England opener Chris Broad was the ICC match referee for the two-Test series and Rohit believes that global body’s empanelled referees should be “neutral”.

“It’s important to stay neutral, especially the match referees. Some of the match referees need to keep their eyes on how they rate pitches,” said an unusually aggressive Rohit.

ICC match referee Andy Pycroft's “average” rating for the pitch used for the ODI World Cup final in Ahmedabad in November also did not go down well with Rohit and Co. “I still can’t believe the World Cup final pitch was rated ‘below average’ (average actually). How can that be a poor pitch?” he asked.

“The ICC and the referees need to start looking into it. Rate pitches based on how they see it and not based on countries (hosting). I am all for pitches like these (Newlands). We pride ourselves on playing on pitches like these, all I want to say is be neutral."

The amount of mistrust for some a few select match officials was evident when Rohit sarcastically said he would love to know about the parametres match referees use to rate pitches. “I would like to see the how the pitch has been rated. I want to see it now. I want to see the chart, how they rate pitches. Clearly, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Cape Town, Centurion, all are different. Pitches deteriorate fast, overhead conditions are different.

“If the ball seams from ball one, that’s okay, but if the ball starts turning…. If the ball starts turning, they don’t like it. If you want the ball only to seam and not turn, it’s wrong,” he said.

“I have seen enough of cricket now. I have seen enough of how these match referees look into these ratings, I have no issues with how they want to note, they have to be neutral.”

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