Who defines good surface, who makes all these rules: R Ashwin on Motera pitch


Ravichandran Ashwin on Saturday said he is hardly perturbed by all the talk surrounding the surface winning over skills set and took a dig at critics seeking to undermine India’s massive wins in recent times.

Ashwin, who on Friday, had put out a series of tweets in which he tried to emphasise how a particular thought process is being “marketed” and creating an issue.

“I am absolutely not disturbed with things being taken away from the context because this is what’s been happening for the last decade, if not more,” Ashwin, who is now the second fastest to 400 Test wickets, said during a virtual media meet.

“That is why I put out the tweets that I did yesterday. I think people need to get the context of what’s happening here. There have been some people who have messaged me and said match has finished in two days.”

When a British journalist asked if he felt the pitch used for the third match against England at Motera was good for Test cricket, Ashwin gave him a prompt counter.

“I have a question back. What is a good cricket surface?,” Ashwin shot back.

“I am the one asking the question… good contest between bat and ball?” the journalist was insistent.

“What makes a good surface? Who defines this? Seam on the first day and then bat well and then spin on the last two days? Come on! Who makes all these rules, we need to get over it and not talk about whatever picture you want to paint,” Ashwin’s sarcasm was not lost on anyone.

“If you are asking if it is a good Test surface, I don’t see any of the players coming from England having an issue with the surface. They want to improve, they look like they want to have a contest.

“Is it the players and the people who are reporting back that want their players to not complete and complain about the pitches? Because we have never done that on any of the tours.”

The scribe had a follow-up question.

“Hoping for a similar surface in the next Test?”

“It depends on what you’re hoping for. We are hoping for a good cricket match.”

Ashwin feels that it’s difficult to explain how a match pans out to those who haven’t played the game but forms an opinion based on a third person’s view point.

“What about all the three pink-ball Test matches we’ve played, everything has ended within three days’ time.

“I do not know what to say because when somebody just throws an opinion out there about the surface — and having had played the game — unfortunately maybe they’ve not played the pink-ball Test matches so they do not understand this facet of the game.”

Ashwin’s problem is that people are not forming an opinion at their own behest.

“My angst against the whole thing is the fact that when people say something there are so many of them who are watching the same picture but are not able to paint a different one compared to somebody who is driving and selling a certain case to us and this needs to stop.”

Asked if he felt hurt by Yuvraj Singh’s tweet about Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh getting 1500 and 800 wickets on these kind of tracks, he gave an interesting reply.

“The reason behind my tweets were definitely not in context to anybody in particular. When I read Yuvi pa’s tweet, I actually didn’t get affected at all because I didn’t find that he was telling us anything, trying to suggest anything.

“It just felt like a really plain tweet, saying ‘we were good and…’,” Ashwin said a lot without saying much.

He reiterated that selling a particular perception irks him as he feels that some people are being “hypnotised” into believing things without knowing the reality.

“For me, the state of mind I am in, I didn’t find it anything wrong or agenda-driven or anything like that. I know Yuvi pa for a long time and I have the utmost respect for him.

“With respect to your agenda-driven thoughts, this is exactly what my tweets were about. Some of us or some people amongst us tend to buy the stuff that people sell. I do not know the reason behind why people sell certain things, but it’s clear. It’s just a perception of what happens.

“… People who know me or watch me talk, at least realise that without their knowledge they are actually being hypnotised to believing what they are buying.”

He repeatedly questioned why people were conditioned into believing that the team wins in a certain way.

“With respect to thoughts being put across and planted to people is something that is extremely hilarious and heinous to a point where you have a thought process and you want everyone to follow that and think that. And also you know make it conditioning.”He then cited an example.

“You watch a match, you watch India win a game, at most everyone is saying you say ‘I’m happy India won the game, it’s a great feeling’. You don’t want people to go back home and say ‘India’s not winning the game and the pitch that’s winning the game’. That’s what I don’t want people to do. I know anyway that’s going to come up.”

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