Home advantage is nothing but the home team preparing the pitch that suits them the most; thus suiting their style of play and strengthening their powerhouse.
Hence, it’s pretty common to witness turning tracks in Asian countries, bouncy tracks for Aussies, who have produced par excellence fast bowlers since time immemorial or the swinging pitches in England.
Subcontinent fans are sensitive to this issue of opposing team using this home advantage. But, if carefully observed, even the overseas teams suffer on the spinning tracks; New Zealand, Australia or even England.
The hypocrisy that lies among the fans, especially witnessed in the social media, is a rank turner is considered a non-sporting pitch whereas a lush green track, often failing to distinguish itself from the outfield, is considered a sporting track.
Too much reliance on home tracks and conditions worsens the players’ performance when touring overseas, often feeling alienated to the conditions, consequently performing miserably.
A raising dilemma nowadays is, “Will Pakistan will ever play at home again?” The answer and opinions are subjective but from the team’s point of view, they have suffered since, and have been robbed away from many luxuries. One being the home advantage, which is important for every cricketing nation. The favorable conditions and pitches, where the players have played on and emerged from, the psychological advantage and motivation earned by playing in front of the own crowd.
There is no pleasant feeling of representing your country within your country. The cricketers are also deprived of visiting their families during the busy season as they either tour elsewhere or play at UAE.
India and Pakistan, two historically arch rivals have enjoyed and suffered contrasting advantages and disadvantages, respectively. While the latter is trying hard to get back cricket at home, the former is enjoying the home advantage as they are set to play 11 consecutive home games in the ongoing season. The Indian team has prepared square turners, which has helped the Indian spinners, who have utilized the pitch through their wide skills of finger/wrist spin and bowling long spells. Also, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara have played commendable knocks at critical stages, some surviving and some attacking to sway the match in India’s favor.
Summing everything up, I believe, there is no such thing as ‘sporting’ or ‘non-sporting’ pitches. Home team has every right to prepare pitch according to their strength and use it efficiently. But too much reliance on home tracks deteriorates the performance when travelling overseas, where the real challenge lies. As for Pakistan, their performance, dedication and hard work is commendable as despite of all the odds, they managed to hold on to the test mace as Misbah has been terrific in marching his troops. India, at home look invincible as ever, but like always, there will always be doubts surrounding when they travel overseas.