Rajasthan Royals v Chennai Super Kings, IPL 2011, Jaipur May 10, 2011

We were told which pitch to play on - Warne

ESPNcricinfo staff

Shane Warne has said that he and Rajasthan Royals were shocked to be told which pitch to play on and how to prepare it for their home game against Chennai Super Kings. He said Rajasthan were told to play on a pitch on the edge of the square, which shortened one boundary, and it was quicker than the ones Jaipur had produced for Rajasthan's five previous home games. Chennai scored 196, 37 more than the previous-highest score at the ground this season, and won by 63 runs.

"In four years, we've never been told which pitch to play on or how to prepare it," a visibly upset Warne said after the defeat. "We have no idea who instructed it but it wasn't coming from us. Every other team has that opportunity [to prepare and choose their home pitches]; we don't."

When asked why Rajasthan had been instructed to play on a particular pitch against Chennai, Warne insisted he didn't know and asked the reporters to find out and decide for themselves. Warne, however, made it clear he wasn't making excuses for the loss, saying Chennai were the better team on the day, but emphasised it was strange why, after four years, they suddenly had the right to choose the pitch at their home ground taken away from them.

"I don't want to make too much of a point about the pitch because Chennai outplayed us; both teams had to play on the same pitch and we weren't good enough today. But it is a shame that we are the only home team to not get what we want."

However, Sanjay Dixit, the Rajasthan Cricket Association's honorary secretary and a senior bureaucrat in the Rajasthan government, told ESPNcricinfo on Tuesday that teams have never been in charge of choosing which pitch they played on in the IPL, and that he was surprised by Warne's comments. He said Rajasthan had been notified, in writing, about the change of pitch on May 2. "It was officially conveyed to them. So they had known this for about the week."

The pitch at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium first came under the scanner when Mumbai Indians were restricted to 94 for 8 on April 29 and Sachin Tendulkar called the surface two-paced after his team's defeat. The chairman of the BCCI's grounds and pitches committee, Venkat Sundaram, was present at Rajasthan's next home game, against Pune Warriors on May 1, which drew an angry reaction from Warne, who was under the impression Mumbai had made an official complaint about the track. Warne accused Mumbai of making excuses, but Mumbai later denied they had made any complaint.

According to Dixit, the decision to switch pitches was taken after Sundaram watched the Pune game. Warne had defended the Jaipur pitch at the time and did so again after the Chennai game: "For four years we've played on whichever pitch we've wanted to; the average score here is 154 and every time we've produced an excellent pitch."

The tracks at Jaipur have generally been slow and offered some turn, and Rajasthan with their spin-heavy attack had notched up four home victories before Monday's game, restricting their opponents to less than 150 in three of those wins. Against Chennai, Warne said he thought 170 would have been about a par score, considering they were playing with "kiddies" boundaries.

"They got 20 runs too many thanks to Dhoni's superb knock. We thought if we kept them down to 170-175 with the kiddies boundary, on a fast track that didn't turn like normal, we would have a chance. We never like playing with such a short boundary. I think' it's ridiculous."

On Tuesday evening, the BCCI also clarified in a release that IPL teams did not have a say in choosing pitches. "The BCCI wishes to clarify that the wicket used in the match between Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, played at Jaipur on 9th May 2011, was as per the decision of the curator, and the ground and pitches committee," the release said. "The committee sent recommendations to all host associations before the start of the IPL season. Included in the same was the advice that 'the pitches should have good pace and consistent bounce'. The committee members have visited a number of the IPL venues both before and, where necessary, during the season, and made appropriate recommendations, the priority being to ensure competitive and quality cricket.

"Neither of the playing teams has a choice of the wicket, on which to play the game. It is the curator, in consultation with the committee chairman, who prepares the wickets."

Sundaram said: "The IPL is being played at the end of the Indian domestic season, and after the World Cup. Therefore, the main pitches are bound to have wear and tear. The extreme heat prevailing all over the country has also taken its toll. Hence, it becomes necessary to change the pitches in some cases, as good playing conditions will result in good cricket."

Rajasthan will play one more match in Jaipur, on May 11, against Royal Challengers Bangalore and the same pitch will be used for that game.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 12, 2011, 7:41 GMT

    Warne is right in saying that the home team has to have the advantage of choosing the pitch to play on. But its absurd to say that the new pitch was used to benefit CSK. Why would playing on the slow Jaipur pitch be a disadvantage to the Super Kings?Chennai's got 3 spinners and would have used the pitch to full effect.The pitch change was a disadvantage for the RRs but wouldnt have mattered as much to the Super Kings because they are,simply put,superior in all departments to the Royals. And anyway,this pitch controversy started with the Mumbai Indians match and even RCB played on the same track yesterday,so pointing out the pitch change as a move engineered to help CSK doesnt make much sense.

  • Mohamed on May 11, 2011, 13:10 GMT

    Hey, Everyone who comments without understanding Warne complain: Listen to: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/video_audio/514545.html?genre=48;

    (Time frame - 6:42 to 8:20)

    It will explain clearly everything.

  • Gobikannan on May 11, 2011, 11:43 GMT

    Don't blame anyone.. obviously its RR fault,. they won the TOSS and they chosen to field first. Then why he is telling pitch, CSK, Srinivasan, MSD, Srikanth and all.. CSK played well that day and of course RR didn't make it even they have big blasters like Watson & Ross Taylor. Yeah Dravid too, not blaster but has good strike rates.

  • Senthil on May 11, 2011, 11:08 GMT

    My house got looted because my AC was not working! Hello? What is the connection? It is not even Warney making an excuse of any sort. Just that for whatever was going for brains in the RR camp that evening, they won the toss and put Chennai in to bat on a wicket CSK did not choose! A win by 63 runs in a T20 match can only come down to one thing - one team was asleep. All you folks talking about CSK getting an unfair advantage - you have to be joking! They did everything possible to retain the core of their IPL winning team, and the results are here to see. THAT is the biggest advantage they have - brains. Speaking of Mr. Srinivasan, Lalit Modi is one of the proxy owners of RR, so any wonder where the chirping noise is coming from?

  • Mohammad on May 11, 2011, 10:59 GMT

    Every team has strength and weakness and I totally agree with Shane Warne that each team should get home advantage..otherwise whats the meaning of playing at home and away?? I for one prefer slow tracks where only batsmen with class can score runs rather than anyone with bat in his hand.

  • PACKIANATH JEBARAJ on May 11, 2011, 9:03 GMT

    I cant see what the fuss about the short boundary for... I felt it suited Watson and Ross Taylor more than any other batsmen who played that day with both prefering the midwicket boundary a lot... But as Warne told CSK simply outplayed on them... You cant simply say CSK won the match because of the pitch. Then whats the point in playing a cricket match at this level. Besides RR being told to play in that particular pitch is more to do with the Mumbai match rather than the CSK match itself.

  • Dummy4 on May 11, 2011, 8:38 GMT

    He should admit that his team was outplayed

  • Joshua on May 11, 2011, 7:44 GMT

    Most of those people lashing out at Shane Warne,seem to miss the point,while it cannot be proved i guess that BCCI involvement was solely to benefit CSK,there is also the possibility that low scoring games were hurting revenues and general interest in IPL and hence the change in pitch.

  • rustyryan on May 11, 2011, 5:26 GMT

    @Farce-Follower: The reason of animosity against CSK is not administration. Its just ppl are jealous bout CSK. CSK is the only team tat seems so united both off and on the field. CSK is like a family not a franchise. Go and check Haydo's fb page and ve a glance of his csk album and you ll get to know why csk is such a winning unit. Stop being envious. N Srinivasan is a better administrator than Shilpa or Priety or SRK. and MS is the best captain right now in this entire galaxy. period.

  • mathew on May 11, 2011, 4:34 GMT

    @farce follower,what a pathetic comment.After mumbai match fiasco ,the pitch is changed for the last 2 games.RR has good batting line up and no need to cry for such a small matter.If they are good ,why cant they bat in the very good batting pitch rather than complaining.Everytime the wicket is so slow,warne always win toss and ask the visiting team to bat and restrict to 130 and chase easily and win ,thus having a good home record.i never saw any visting captain won the toss in rajasthan .now its funny that they cant bat in good batting pitch as well.lame excuses.when sachin told in post match presentation,warne quick to jump guns,now he himself making issues out of nothing.

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