India’s curators are back with two pitches for the test as civil war erupts over the Indore disaster

India’s brazen curators are keeping their options open for the fourth Test, preparing two potential pitches for the Border Gavaskar series finale in Ahmedabad.

Australia remain uncertain about the pitch they will play on at the 132,000 capacity Narendra Modi Stadium for the friendly against India which begins on Thursday.

India coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma both had lengthy center wicket inspections as the hosts trained at the Ahmedabad ground on Tuesday.

Pitch discussion was a constant throughout the first three Tests, with India deliberately introducing spin-friendly surfaces to uphold their chances of toppling Australia.

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But that tactic backfired in the third Test at Indore, when Australia picked up an upset nine-wicket win in a match that ended early on day three.

AHMEDABAD, INDIA - MARCH 7: Travis Head and Steve Smith of Australia inspect the pitch during a training session of Australia Test Team at Narendra Modi Stadium on March 7, 2023 in Ahmedabad, India. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Travis Head and Steve Smith inspect the pitch in Ahmedabad. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Spin accounted for 26 of the 31 wickets taken at Holkar Stadium, resulting in the International Cricket Council [ICC] hit the pitch with the dreaded “poor” rating.

After the match, Sharma supported India’s decision to require curators to prepare heavily rotating pitches that make batsmen difficult to play on.

Officials in Indian team uniforms have been spotted near the middle gate for extended periods ahead of all three previous Tests in Nagpur, Delhi and Indore.

“We want to play to our strengths at home and not care what people are saying outside. Our strength is spin and depth,” he said. “People have to play well for the game to last five days.

“Even outside of India, games don’t last five days.”

The President of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association [MPCA]Abhilash Khandeka said Indore was treated unfairly because of the state of the pitch.

Indore was a last minute choice to host the third post-Board of Control Test for cricket in India [BCCI] on February 12 deemed the ground in Dharamsala unsuitable for the game.

“Two BCCI curators came eight to ten days before the game. The pitch was prepared under her supervision. The MPCA played no role in the presentation,” said Khandeka The time of India this week.

“I want to make it clear that MPCA, like any other state board association, has no role in setting the pitch in international games.

“BCCI curators come and receive direction from BCCI along with Indian team management.

“I’m surprised it got a bad rating because it got a good result. Spinners prevailed in the match. The ICC report surprised me.”

The first three tests of the Border Gavaskar series failed to go into a fourth day.

Match umpire Chris Broad wasted no time in his pitch verdict, with the ICC confirming the ‘poor’ rating some seven hours after Australia’s win.

INDORE, INDIA - MARCH 1: Matthew Kuhnemann of Australia celebrates the wicket of Umesh Yadav of India during day one of the third Test match in the series between India and Australia at Holkare Cricket Stadium on March 1, 2023 in Indore, India. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Matthew Kuhnemann celebrates Umesh Yadav’s wicket. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

“The very dry field didn’t offer a balance between racquet and ball, which favored spinners from the start,” Broad said.

“The fifth ball of the game broke the pitch surface and continued to break the surface on occasion, resulting in little or no seam movement, and there was excessive and uneven bounce throughout the game.”

The BCCI has 14 days to decide whether to appeal the sanction. Indian media reports have stated that the BCCI is likely to challenge the rating.

Poor pitch ratings cost venues three demerits, with any ground accumulating five demersal points over a five-year period risk being banned from hosting international cricket for 12 months. India's curators are back with two pitches for the test as civil war erupts over the Indore disaster

Russell Falcon

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