India vs England: India avoided any penalty for the controversial pitch used for the pink-ball 3rd Test against England at the Motera Stadium after ICC rated the pitch ‘average’. The rating also helped the revamped and renamed Sri Narendra Modi Stadium escape any serious sanctions after former cricketers criticized the pitch for assisting spinners from Day 1. India won the Day/Night pink-ball Test by 10 wickets inside two days with spinners bagging 28 wickets.
The Motera pitch for the Day/Night Test between India vs England was awarded an average rating by the match referee in consultation with the umpires, who were from the host nation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Interestingly, the match referee and umpires were all from India. Former India seamer Javagal Srinath was the match referee while Anil Chaudhary and Nitin Menon were the on-field umpires for the match. But with the International Cricket Council also involved in the grading process, it could not be called a ‘biased’ rating.
What if India vs England 3rd Test pitch was rated poor?
If the Motera pitch was rated ‘poor’ India would have been docked 3 points from the ICC World Test Championship ranking while the stadium could have accumulated three demerit points. Furthermore, if the pitch received a ‘below average’ rating by the ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process that was introduced on January 4, 2018, it would have received one demerit points. In case, a venue is rated poor for both pitch and outfield, it would accumulate a higher number of demerit points.
If a stadium accumulates five demerit points in a five-year period, it could be banned from hosting any international cricket match for a year. If the accumulated demerit points reach 10, then the venue will be banned for 24 months from hosting any international cricket match.
However, in the subcontinent, pitches are given leeway in terms of assistance to spinners from Day 1 of a Test match. But it should not be excessive. Rather, the pitch will provide some turn progressively while unevenness and bounce could also develop during the five-day period.
Widespread criticism for India vs England 3rd Test pitch
One of the shortest Test matches in history, more than England’s batting, former players such as Michael Vaughan, Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss and David Lloyd led a scathing attack. Even former India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh and Maninder Singh were not too happy with the Motera pitch either.
“The longer powerful countries like India are allowed to get away with it the more toothless the ICC will look. The governing body is allowing India to produce whatever they wish and it is Test cricket that is getting hurt,” Vaughan wrote in the Daily Telegraph, criticising the ICC and the BCCI.
However, the touring England team, including captain Joe Root, left it to the ICC to take any call on the pitch. India skipper Virat Kohli, although, blamed the batsmen who could not make runs. England 112 and 81 while India scored 145 in the first innings and chased the 48-run target without losing any wickets. Rohit Sharma top-scored in the match with 66 runs.