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India v Australia 2022/23

‘That’s straight-up pitch doctoring’ – sections of Australian media cries foul play ahead of Nagpur Test

by Nik Anand 2 minute read

Sections of the Australian media have cast aspersions on the preparation of the Nagpur pitch set to be used for the first Test between India and Australia with more than one outlet labelling it as ‘pitch doctoring’.

Images emerged on social media showing the state of the wicket to be used in the opening Test match of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with SEN’s Robert Craddock claiming that the preparations of the pitch were “straight-up pitch doctoring”.

Craddock argued that the photographs of the pitch show that ground staff in Nagpur had prepared separate parts of the pitch in different ways to try and target the left-handed batters in Australia’s XI.


“The classic saying about pitches is, ‘Oh, it’s the same for everyone,'” said Craddock. “When the Gabba pitch [had] too much grass was left on it, people were saying, ‘Yes, it was not a great wicket, but it was the same everyone’.

“But you can’t say that about this pitch, Australia has six left-handers in their top eight, so if you start multi-preparing parts of the deck that’s straight-up pitch doctoring, it’s poor.”

Australia are likely to field a top order with more left-handers than India; Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Travis Head, Alex Carey and maybe even Matt Renshaw are set to bat in their top seven, while India possibly may have Ravindra Jadeja as their sole left-hander in their top seven.

Former Australian all-rounder Simon O’Donnell told SEN: “The ICC should step in and do something about it if they think it’s not right. If they think the pitch is not right, there’ll be an ICC referee at the game and the ICC will be watching this game.”

Elsewhere, The Age‘s chief cricket writer Daniel Brettig suggested that Test cricket in India has seen an “era of systemically doctored pitches.”  In a tweet, he said: “A Test series victory in India in an era of systemically doctored pitches would be Australia’s greatest ever.”

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