Source: The Hitavada      Date: 08 Oct 2018 11:12:28

HAVING got a sound drubbing during the tour of England, India has struck back with vengeance at the hapless West Indians, because they are back on their home track. The Indians crushed the not so strong West Indies in Rajkot on the third day in the first Test with a thumping margin of an innings and 272 runs. And the result was not totally unexpected, as of late West Indian cricket is on the decline like several other teams. The old West Indian cricketing charm, the usual flamboyance, exhilaration in their style of playing cricket is steadily declining. So, if the second Test too goes the Rajkot way it will not be surprising.

But then when one looks at the pattern of the way home Test matches go, it becomes clear that the so called “home advantage” has been an overwhelming winner rather than pure cricketing skills. So when India plays at home, it is Indian dominance all the way and the other team has to surrender meekly to the “home advantage” of the host team. India has been winner series after series at home, whether it be West Indies, Sri Lanka, England, Australia or South Africa in the last couple of years. The pattern repeats when teams tour other countries.

Therefore, a visiting team is at the mercy of the host team as conditions are created to suit home bowlers and the style of the batsmen. This is all pervasive, irrespective of the host country involved. It is only a rarity that a visiting team has returned victorious after a tour. And this is considered as a matter of right of the host country to prepare playing conditions suited to home team, unmindful of the fact that this kills the competitive spirit, an essential ingredient of sports. In such tailor-made conditions the outcome becomes more or less predictable.

It may be argued that an international player must have the capabilities to adjust himself to the conditions that are on offer on a tour. That of course should be the case and most players do adjust to the situation presented by the home team. However, the ideal situation would be to offer level playing field to both sides where the skills of bowlers and batsmen from both the teams would be on test and the players would have the opportunity to showcase their talent.

During England’s tour of India, the touring side had badly lost to the home team. This presented the English team in a poor light so much so that their confidence nosedived considerably. When India toured England recently, it was the turn of the visiting Indian team to be at the receiving end of the hosts. This hardly makes justice to the game. Such results fail to present a real picture as to where a particular team or a batsman or bowler stands as far as their talent is considered.