Harbhajan backs "home advantage" in pitch controversy
| Saturday, December 5, 2015 - 19:21
New Delhi: Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh on Saturday backed the practice of "home advantage", in reference to the nature of pitches prepared by India for the ongoing Test cricket series against South Africa.
India have taken an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the four-match series which are being played on slow, low, prodigiously turning tracks with the first and third matches ending within three days.
The fourth Test is underway here at the Freozeshah Kotla where action is taking place on a similar track leading to a section of experts, based in home and abroad, criticising the hosts for stooping too low to win, alleging the absence of "fair play" in the "doctored" tracks.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) added fuel to fire by terming the third Test pitch at Nagpur as "poor".
The allegations have evoked a split response from the cricket community with India Test skipper Virat Kohli and team director Ravi Shastri backing their right to have a pitch of their liking while other have been left not too impressed with the unabashed claim.
The 35-year-old opined that "home advantage" is prevalent in cricket and every host nation has the eight to prepare pitches of their choice.
"Whenever any team goes abroad to play, it encounters wickets not conducive to their strengths. Even when we play overseas, it happens. It is not the first time that balls have turned in Indian pitches," the off-spinner said here, on the sidelines of the launch of a portal named bookmysports.com.
"India has been producing spin-oriented wickets for a a long time. If the hosts doesn't take advantage of their strengths, who will."