'It was pretty ordinary' - Ajit Agarkar slams the pitch used for PBKS vs MI match
MI crawled their way to 131 batting first and the conditions got only worse to bat in the second innings.
The first leg of the ongoing 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to end on April 25. Mumbai and Chennai hosted this leg and from April 26, the focus will shift to Ahmedabad and Delhi. Adapting to the conditions has been the key for all teams this season as the Wankhede surface has dished out an absolute batting beauty while the pitch at Chepauk has been sluggish and slow.
As the tournament has progressed, batting has become extremely tough with the total around 140-150 turning out to be par scores. Things seemed to have worsened on Friday when Punjab Kings faced the defending champions Mumbai Indians. Despite opting to bat first, MI batsmen couldn’t play their shots and could only muster 131 runs on the board.
Though Punjab managed to chase down the total thanks to KL Rahul and Chris Gayle, it took them almost 18 overs to cross the line. The pitches have now become the talking point and even England all-rounder Ben Stokes criticised calling the Chepauk pitch as ‘trash’.
Ajit Agarkar sympathises with groundsmen
Former India cricketer Ajit Agarkar has also opined on the debate and has slammed the pitch on offer in Chennai. However, he sympathised with the groundsmen as they are not getting enough time to prepare the pitches with matches being played almost on alternative days.
“You’ve got to sympathize with the groundsmen [because] the games are coming thick and fast but we have consistently seen these sort of pitches which have progressively gotten worse. This is in a way understandable because of the heat in Chennai and the very little time to prepare the wickets. But today was a tough pitch. I mean, it was a pretty ordinary wicket,” he said while speaking to ESPNCricinfo.
The former Indian cricketer also reckoned that a score of little more than 132 to chase would’ve created panic in the Punjab camp in the middle overs when the run-rate came down a bit. “Anything other than 130 that they [Punjab Kings] had to get, they would have had to take some chances a little bit earlier and that’s where teams chasing can get into trouble.
“I have no problem in seeing difficult pitches, you know being a former bowler, but you want to see pitches where you can get 150-160 with teams being able to chase that. If you get 160 on this pitch, I don’t think a team will be able to chase that no matter what,” Agarkar further said.