The last time Ravi Shastri was in charge of the India team in Nagpur, his side was bundled out for 79 chasing 127 in a 2016 World Twenty20 game against New Zealand. The last time India played an ODI on this ground, they beat Australia despite their piling up 350.
And the last time a Test was played at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Jamtha, the ICC issued a warning over an underprepared pitch after the tie against South Africa ended inside three days in favour of the hosts.
Thus, despite Sunday’s final ODI against Australia being a dead rubber, all eyes will be on the pitch with fans hoping it doesn’t throw up any nasty surprise. Pitch curator Pravin Hingnikar though has assured the pitch would be sporting.
The former Vidarbha all-rounder told Hindustan Times on Friday: “It will be a very sporting wicket, but what’s required is the team to put runs on the board. I don’t think the toss will have a major role to play given this is a true wicket.”
Hingnikar ruled out the possibility of the game being a low-scoring one as has happened in the past few matches, stating that he expected the sides to put up at least 270-300 runs on the board.
No weather worry
Rain affected all previous games in the five-match series. But Hingnikar said there is no forecast of rain in Nagpur on Sunday. “We’ve been working on the pitch for the past 10-12 days, although we had to halt our work in between because of heavy downpour. Luckily, there is no forecast of rain; even if it does rain, we are prepared to tackle the situation given our surface and underground drainage are up to the mark. We’ll be covering the entire ground in the night just in case it rains.”
India failed to extend their winning run to 10 consecutive games, losing the last game in Bengaluru on Thursday. But India might continue their rotation policy after skipper Virat Kohli stressed on the need to test the bench strength given that the series has been wrapped up.
“It will provide equal opportunity for both the teams… Be it spinners or seamers, no one would have an added advantage come Sunday,” the curator added.
The endorsement of an ideal pitch will be tested on Sunday but there’s a lot at stake for the venue itself.