Mumbai: The curator of the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Sudhir Naik, says he was deeply hurt by off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin's sarcastic remarks about the pitch which produced a thrilling draw on the fifth and final day of the third Test between India and the West Indies on Saturday.
Ashwin's statement - that he felt cheated with the Wankhede wicket due to its lack of bounce and turn after the visitors had batted for two full days - did not go down well with Naik, who said instead of relying on pitches, the young spinner should concentrate on his own bowling.
"I felt bad when Ashwin made the comments that there was no bounce and help for the bowlers and several newspapers carried it," Naik told PTI. "These boys now want wickets to turn from the first day itself. On good wickets, they should know how to make the batsman play the ball."
"If the pitch here starts turning from the first day itself, the surface is such that the match will be over within 2-3 days. Even then people would have blamed me for preparing such a pitch."
Ashwin, incidentally, took a career-best haul of 9-180 and also scored his maiden Test century in the just-concluded third Test.
Naik also found fault with the way the Indian pace duo of Ishant Sharma and Varun Aaron bowled on the Wankhede strip.
"The wicket was hard since there was a bit of grass which was holding it up. In such a case they (Ishant and Aaron) should not have banged the ball, rather than pitching it further up. Besides, you should also give credit to the opposition for doing well, rather than criticizing the pitch."
"If you analyse the match, the 39 wickets which have fallen were shared equally by the spinners and pacers. Both teams posted huge totals in their first innings. The spinners started getting help from yesterday, as I had earlier said. What more do you want?" the former Test cricketer asked.
Stating that this was one of the closest matches he had even seen in Mumbai, Naik said the home team lost the plot.
"India appeared to be winning comfortably while (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni and (Virat) Kohli were batting. But Dhoni should not have played the kind of shot he did on this wicket to get out. Ashwin too erred by taking singles off the first ball of the overs, and this allowed the lower-order batsman to take most of the strike."