In a certain context, former skipper Dilip Vengsarkar had famously remarked that on Indian wickets batsmen can go to sleep and still get a hundred.
While run glut in India’s domestic calendar is a given, the score-sheets of the last three days beggar belief. As many as 13 centuries were scored on Day 3 of the second round of this Ranji season; 12 hundreds had already been recorded on Day 2. The Ranji tie involving Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh has taken the form of a timeless Test. An insane 1051 runs have been scored at Pune’s Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium, and the first-innings is not even complete. Only seven wickets were lost in three days.
A similar story is unfolding in Surat where Gujarat are playing Saurashtra. Together, the two sides have accumulated 923 runs (and all in the first-innings).
In fact, seven matches in Round 2 have seen first-innings scores of above 400, including games on prominent Test centres such as Chepauk and Mohali.
At Chepauk, all the top-order Tamil Nadu batsmen posted a minimum score of 50 as they ran up 538 for four. Their opponent Karnataka nearly gave a fitting riposte. Their top three notched up half-centuries, with only Manish Pandey (6) standing like a sore thumb on the scoreboard. “Who would want to be a bowler?” remarked Himachal Pradesh’s Aakash Chopra on a social networking site. “Since we penalise teams for under-prepared pitches, we must penalise them for preparing highways.”
The Indian cricket board’s pitches and grounds committee chairman Daljit Singh admitted that there was need to “have a proper look” at both the surfaces.
He also pointed out at the five outright results in the first round. “This is the second round only. The emphasis is always on sporting wickets. You should give credit to the batsmen for applying themselves as well,” he told DNA.
A top official associated with the BCCI, however, lamented, “It is sad to see these kind of wickets. Before the season started, we had a refresher course for curators. It is disappointing when the host associations prepare such kind of wickets.” Interestingly, the smaller centres are producing the most exciting matches. At the Keenan Stadium in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand require 157 in the last day against Assam in a Group C encounter. Matches on venues like Anantapur and Porvorim have seen scores of around 350 mark in the first dig, a far cry from the scenes in the bigger centres.