South Africa’s head coach, Shukri Conrad, didn’t hold back in expressing his disappointment with the Newlands surface, where the shortest Test match in cricket history recently unfolded. In a match lasting just 106.2 overs, India secured victory over South Africa by seven wickets, leading Conrad to label the pitch as “not great” and suggest that sheer luck prevailed over pure skill.
Conrad’s frustration was evident as he pointed out the unconventional nature of a 1.5-day Test match, emphasizing the sad state of affairs when luck becomes more crucial than skill. The former Western Province cricketer didn’t mince words, asserting that the ethics and values of Test cricket seemed to have been disregarded in the process.
About Shukri Conrad’s Critique:
Given his role as a Western Province coach and insider, Conrad’s frank observations could potentially strain relations with Cricket South Africa (CSA) and Western Province cricket authorities. When questioned about the flying deliveries on the controversial surface, Conrad admitted to being unaware of the ongoing developments, stating he had moved on from the situation.
In an unexpected turn, Conrad extended sympathy towards Newlands’ chief curator, Braam Mong, suggesting that he might have “over-prepared” the surface. Despite his criticism, Conrad defended Mong as a good individual who may have erred unintentionally, emphasizing that making mistakes doesn’t diminish one’s overall competence as a groundsman.
As the series concluded in a 1-1 stalemate, Conrad hinted at potential discussions with Mong to understand the curator’s perspective. The controversy surrounding the Newlands pitch raises questions about the delicate balance between pitch preparation, match outcomes, and the integrity of the game itself.