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Only In India

And maybe, just maybe, Pakistan too. Curator of Fortress Feroz Shah Kotla, Radhey Shyam Sharma, has prepared a "parting gift" for Indian captain Anil Kumble. Celebrating his final Test in charge, as well as Kumble's many Herculean performances at Fortress Kotla, Sharma proudly boasted that he has "always made wickets that suit Kumble and this time it won't be any different."

Parochialism aside, this has to be considered home advantage in its most brazen and transparent form. Every country prepares wickets that suit its players. As cricket fan, and that too an Indian cricket fan, very little gives me more pleasure than to watch the odd Test where touring batsman grope, fiddle and play virtual twister in trying to combat the wiles of world class Indian spinners.

It has always intrigued (and sometimes angered) me that a turning wicket has ceased to be considered a fair wicket in modern day cricket. IMHO the Mumbai pitch during Australia's last Test tour was just as fair as the WACA wicket in its fast, bouncy heyday. A wicket only ceases to be fair when it is altered to advantage one team over another during the course of a match.

Publications today abound with stories of how Kumble has to prove himself, once again, after debutant Amit Mishra's impressive showing at Mohali. Kumble will only silence these cricket-illiterate journalists by leading Team India to a victory at Fortress Kotla, by becoming only the second international captain in a decade to lower Australian colours.

Radhey Shyam Sharma and his crew have done their due, now it is for Team India to honour such fine servants of Indian cricket.

PS. The man in the above image (source Daylife) is not Radhey Shyam Sharma.

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