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    May 11, 2006

    ICC's strict standards for test match pitches

    The ICC has decided on it's interpretation of a quality test match pitch.

    The good news is that pitches are allowed to support bounce, seam movement and turn. The bad news is that the ICC has decided that a good pitch is one which has good carry and seam movement for the first 92 minutes 30 seconds of play on days one and two, ensures balls seaming away to the extent of five degrees between lunch and tea for the first four days and does not allow the ball to turn any more than 3 degrees between tea and stumps on the first three days and between lunch and stumps on the last two days.

    Needless to say, I think this is a ridiculous decision. Assuming it will be implemented, it'd be interesting to see the rules being applied to pitches at grounds which either offer too much help to bowlers or none at all - Antigua, Darwin, Dunedin, Headingley, Kandy, Kingsmead, WACA, Wanderers (too much help & no help to bowlers) and the Wankhede.

    So bloody what if a test ends in 2 or 3 days? It certainly makes for interesting viewing, which is good enough for me. I'd rather watch that sort of game than the ones at Lahore, Faisalabad and Nagpur in the recent past.

    You can vote in the poll and leave your comments, regardless of whether you disagree or agree with the ICC's decision and my take on the issue!


    Thus spake Jagadish @ 5:53 PM |
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    10 sledge(s):

    from what i read, it doesnt seem to me as an attempt to 'standardise'...more of an attempt to remove the overt bias towards one aspect - we dont want Faisalabad and we dont want the disaster we had on last tour to Nz.

    The ICC rule, to me, seems more like a fairly balanced and subjective-ish rating of various aspects of the pitch....just make a multiple choice form for referee and captains to be filled at the end of each day (or the match) on these aspects. Based on that, rate the ground as excellent, good, poor, unfit etc. I think fair enough....lets see how they implement.

    In that sense, your poll is also not correct....the ICC has not decided to 'stadardise match pitches'

    By Blogger worma (11-May-2006, 6:53:00 PM)  

    A good pitch in New Zealand isn't necessarily a good pitch in Sri Lanka. The ground is different, the climate is different. There will probably be morelateral movement anyway in New Zealand due to the climate. As long as the matches are interesting (and safe, naturally), what's the problem?

    By Anonymous Geoff (11-May-2006, 9:31:00 PM)  

    worma: The news report used the word 'standardize'. By using words such as good carry, limited seam movement, consistent bounce, little or no turn, natural wear etc. etc., which effectively restrict the variation in the behaviour of pitches, it is nothing but a standardization.

    geoff: Well put. I can't quite see a problem, unless the pitch is actually so poor that players' are in danger of being injured due to the pitch, as at Indore when Sri Lanka toured in 1997 and at Sabina Park when England toured in 1998. I'm all in favour of "ideal" wickets, which the ICC describes. But the reality is that there're probably only a handful of such pitches. Pitches should ask questions about the batsmen's and bowlers' abilities and techniques, ideally in equal measure - but I don't have a problem if some games are totally bowler friendly for a change!

    By Blogger Jagadish (12-May-2006, 10:52:00 AM)  

    geoff: the effect of climate etc is not mentioned, nor being questioned/monitored within the scope of this ICC ruling. So..if u get banana swing on day1, thats fine.

    jagadish: no I still don't see it as standardization of the can be elimination of non-sporting or biased pitches. Does the ICC release mention it as standardization or is it the interpretation of some one else? Variation on the behaviour of a normal pitch *should* be along the lines of what ICC prescribed....that is indeed a *balanced* and good pitch...whether ICC had said it or not.

    You would agree that there should be some help for pace bowlers on day 1....that there should be some seam movement....that the bounce should be even....that the pitch should not break too what exactly is there to disagree? Can you point out specifics?

    By Blogger worma (12-May-2006, 3:33:00 PM)  

    worma: Statistically speaking, when you ignore the top and bottom 10% values, you're basically trying to reduce the chances of the sample set having drastically different values from the mean. Similarly, the ICC's attempt to remove "spicy" wickets means they're basically trying to ensure a fairly similar behaviour across pitches. At least, that is the way I see it. Interestingly enough, there's no release mentioned in the ICC site. I based my post on the PTI story. What I disagree with is the notion that pitches need to be benchmarked and that some pitches are not acceptable just because they're more friendly for bowlers/batsmen. I'm completely in favour of a few dustbowls/hugely seaming/bouncy tracks every now and then to shake up batsmen! They have it far too easy nowadays! :)

    By Blogger Jagadish (12-May-2006, 4:37:00 PM)  

    worma: that's a fair point, but I'm looking forward to see the ICC get their protractors and slide rules out to determine how much movement is off the seam, and how much is swing.

    By Anonymous Geoff (12-May-2006, 7:40:00 PM)  

    geoff: If it is an ICC protractor, it can't measure anything more than 15°!

    By Blogger Jagadish (14-May-2006, 2:52:00 PM)  

    geoff and jagadish: I think we are over scrutinizing the issue. I feel that the ICC ruling is subjective enough, and is purely aimed at removing the pitches that we call 'unplayable' or 'dead' in recent times. I don't think, for example, such ruling would affect the Karachi pitch we had recently.

    Anyway, we've to wait and see how the implementation goes....I have a feeling that we'll get to hear of this rule only when we all agree that the pitch was not good.

    By Blogger worma (15-May-2006, 2:47:00 PM)  

    First of all, you should frame rules which you can implement. Nobody knows on how a pitch behaves on a particular day. I have seen it behaving completely opposite to what the so called experts say :-

    Why frame something that you can't monitor or implement ?

    Even if you take the mumbai match, when laxman and sachin were playing, the ball was easy to play..Once they went out, we made a mess and the aussies too !! And also if you take the edengarden semifinals, when sachin was batting, there was no talk about pitches and only when he got out, ball started to turn square.

    And i have seen fantastic test matches in the old perth wicket. Sabina park wickets and Indore wickets needs to go . But even if you take indore wicket, they played a friendly match on that day and the wicket did not behave that badly ( i suppose i am right)

    And also people say that underprepared wickets suits the bowlers and they used the same reason for faisalabad pitch where batsman scored thousands of runs.

    So, why go about something which you can't have a control over ?


    By Blogger mani (19-Oct-2006, 10:00:00 PM)  

    mani: True. It's very tough to enforce the rules. The quality of a pitch is surely subjective. Batsmen and bowlers will, in all likelihood, not agree on what their ideal pitch is. Stephen Fleming was also making batting very easy at Brabourne against South Africa. None of the other batsmen got close. Pitches should be such that good batsmen survive and good bowlers survive.

    By Blogger Jagadish (20-Oct-2006, 8:58:00 AM)  

    We'd prefer if you posted comments with your real name to add more credibility to your opinions. However, the moderators reserve the right to delete comments, especially those containing offensive or unsuitable language. The opinions in the comments are your own views. You are welcome to provide a URL to your own cricket blog, but the moderators reserve the right to delete comments which only reference sites for viewing live streams.

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