The Wanderers pitch in Johannesburg for the recently concluded final Test between South Africa and India has been rated as ‘poor’ by ICC match-referee Andy Pycroft. The rating means three demerit points for the Wanderers venue that shall remain active for a period of five years.
If the venue collects two more demerit points for a poor pitch in this period, it will be barred from hosting any international matches for one year by the ICC. ‘Poor’ is the second lowest rating a wicket can receive, right above an ‘unfit’ rating.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) reserve the right to appeal against ICC’s decision within the next two weeks and should they decide to do so, then it will be heard by the general manager and head of the cricket committee of the world governing body.
Virat Kohli’s Indian team had secured a famous 63-run win in the final Test to salvage some pride after tasting defeats in the first two matches.
However, the pitch at the Wanderers came under fire from various quarters for being heavily skewed in the favour of the pacers. Batsmen from both sides took serious hits to their body at various points in the match as uneven bounce created all sorts of problems.
Things got worse towards the end of the third day’s play when South African opener Dean Elgar was struck on the helmet off a short ball from Jasprit Bumrah. As the batsman received medical attention, the umpires took the players off the field while the captains were called into the match-referee’s room for a discussion.
After much deliberation, play was allowed to resume on the fourth day. India then bowled out the hosts to complete a famous win.
ICC’s PITCH GUIDELINES
A poor pitch is one that does not allow an even contest between bat and ball, either by favouring the batters too much and not giving the bowlers (seam and spin) sufficient opportunities to take wickets, or by favouring the bowlers too much (seam or spin), and not giving batsmen the chance to make runs. If any of the following criteria apply, a pitch may be rated “poor”:
Wanderers pitch rated poor. Of all the things that happened in that quite rivetting Test, this was the only thing that was predictable. The good news for the (already sold out) Pink ODI on February 10 is that it's only 3 demerit points, and the venue isn't banned. #SAvIND— Saurabh Somani (@saurabh_42) January 30, 2018
The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) pitch was rated as ‘poor’ by the ICC recently during the fourth Ashes Test between Australia and England. The match had ended in a tame draw as batsmen made merry on a docile pitch with no assistance at all for the bowlers.
In the series between India and South Africa in 2015, the Nagpur pitch had been deemed poor after the Test finished within three days on a raging turner.
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