In the ongoing England tour of India, cricketer Ben Foakes has not minced words when describing the Indian pitches as “horrific.” The five-match Test series began with England claiming a hard-fought victory in the first test by 28 runs. England posted 246 in their first inning, but India took a substantial lead by scoring 436 in their opening inning.
Despite India’s 100+ run lead, the tide turned in England’s favor during the third inning as they managed an impressive 420, becoming the first visiting team to post 400+ runs in the third inning against India in a Test match. In the fourth inning, India could only muster 202 and collapsed, leading to their defeat.
Ben Foakes, who contributed 4 and 34 runs in the two innings, did not hold back in expressing his dismay about the pitches, labeling them as “horrific.” This echoes recent criticism of Indian pitches, with concerns raised about the extreme conditions that can affect the outcome of matches.
The criticism of Indian pitches has been a topic of debate in recent times. However, Indian skipper Rohit Sharma defended the pitches during the ongoing Test series against South Africa. Sharma remarked,
“I honestly don’t mind playing on pitches like this. As long as everyone keeps their mouth shut in India and don’t talk too much about Indian pitches, honestly.”
As the second test is scheduled to begin on Friday, February 2nd, there is a suspicion that the pitch may pose even more challenges for the players. Past experiences have fueled this suspicion, particularly recalling the 2021 tour of India where England faced three challenging losses after their initial victory in Chennai. Ben Foakes, who joined the side in the second Test of that series, recalled those matches, stating,
“All three were probably the worst pitches I’ve batted on.”
The 2021 tour has been described by some as the worst of their lives, not only due to the challenging pitches but also because of the restrictions on movement imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The current tour reflects a different mindset for the England team, with a more positive approach to counter whatever challenges India may present.
Foakes highlighted the shift in mentality, saying,
“Before, there was more of a fear of getting out and that put us in our shells. Whereas now it’s not worrying that you are getting out and accepting that you probably are on those sort of surfaces. But how can you actually go and dominate at times as well?”
This change in mindset indicates England’s determination to approach the game with a more assertive and positive attitude, adapting to the conditions they face in India.