India captain Virat Kohli will only be justified over his comments about the pitches against England if his team bats well on them, according to Monty Panesar. Kohli defended the spinning wicket at Ahmedabad in the third Test of the series last week, which saw the shortest Test match since before the Second World War. India won the game by 10 wickets after England were bowled out for just 81 in their second innings.
But India also struggled on the surface, which led to wide criticism from the cricket fraternity.
Kohli has since batted away the criticism, saying the low scores were due to a lack of skill from both sides.
But Panesar, speaking on behalf of Just Eat‘s new campaign which will allow fans in England to order food from 4am for the final Test match, does not think Kohli’s excuse will wash with cricket chiefs.
“I think what it is is that India needs to bat well to defend the pitch,” Panesar told Express Sport.
“India didn’t bat well either, it was only in the last innings where it was easy to chase 40-odd and win the game.
“In the second Test match when the wicket was turning, India batted better. They applied themselves better.
“So if India can apply themselves on these spinning wickets, and the bosses which are the ICC justify that we can produce turning pitches and India can score runs on them, then there is no argument because they can prove that yeah you can score runs on it.
“But if India don’t score runs and neither do England, then I don’t think it’s good for Test cricket that you have short Test matches.
“I think it just means that people won’t tune in as much.
“You want people to be watching the game and the longer the Test match, the better it is for the game.”
Speaking at his press conference on Wednesday, Kohli was clearly frustrated with the question marks surrounding the pitch.
The 32-year-old said: “I don’t understand why the cricket ball, the cricket pitch, all these things are brought into focus.
“Why don’t we just focus on the fact that the batsmen were just not skilled enough on that pitch to play properly, and it was a bizarre display of batting by both teams in a Test match, and I will continue to maintain that.”
Cricket fans in London, Manchester or Birmingham can order themselves a Full Indian Breakfast from Just Eat from 4am on Thursday morning.
And Panesar believes the initiative is a smart move, adding: “I think it is a great idea by Just Eat, which is the largest food delivery company in the world.
“What a great way to tune in and you can order a nice Indian breakfast.”