Neutral pitch makers in the game soon?
And so it has happened. The International Cricket Council has deemed
it necessary to issue an official warning to Sri Lanka Cricket for
preparing a poor wicket for the First Test between Sri Lanka and
Australia played in Galle from August 31 to September 3.
This was a sequel to match referee Chris Broad making a report to the
ICC expressing his concern about the pitch. Broad, who I said earlier
needs to have a broad outlook, rather than having an axe to grind where
Sri Lanka Cricket is concerned. It was he who even questioned Muttiah
Muralitheran’s action. That time the ICC ignored his questioning.
Incidentally Broad is not without blemish. Opening batting for
England in the Bi-centenary Test in Sydney against Australia, he scored
a century and when dismissed hit the wicket with his bat in frustration
and was fined 500 Australian Dollars.
I was there covering that Test for the Daily News and the Sunday
Observer and was shocked by Broad’s petulance.
The ICC pitch consultant Andy Atkinson will inspect the pitch at the
end of this month and make recommendations about any corrective action
required. SLC, for its part, will need to submit a report confirming the
recommended corrective action, if any has been taken prior to staging
its next international match at Galle.
With the ICC instructing their pitch consultant Atkinson to come here
and inspect the Galle pitch, we are prompted to ask the ICC a pertinent
question and that is: Is the ICC attempting to introduce neutral
curators to the game? Will the ICC still sporting that ‘toothless tiger’
image and doing nothing to make Test cricket more attractive and money
spinning like they frantically do for the Twenty20 and 50 over game.
Introduce neutral pitch makers?
The ICC introduced neutral umpires. So the ICC, with most Test
playing countries bending backwards to please the sheiks in Dubai, will
be toying with the idea of introducing neutral pitch makers. Keep your
The ICC insists that when pitches are prepared, it must help the
batsmen and bowlers equally. Tell me one home team that does it and will
sing the praises of the ICC. There is an unwritten law that home team
curators prepare pitches to suit their bowlers.
In the subcontinent pitches are prepared to suit spinners, because
subcontinent teams pack their team with spinners. Other countries like
Australia, England, South Africa and New Zealand prepare pitches to suit
their speedsters. Can the ICC deny this.
Inside five days
To the Galle Test which was won by Australia inside five days,
Australia winning the toss and batting first made 273. Now if the pitch
was poor, how come they made a total of 273 which was good. Sri Lanka
collapsed for 105 due to some bad and poor batting. It had nothing to do
with the wicket. Debutant Lyon got five wickets due to some
Then late on the third day and on the fourth day, Sri Lanka batted
with more purpose as shown by Mahela Jayawardena and Angelo Mathews who
with technically correct batting showed how to survive on a wicket that
was testing the batsmen.
Jayawardena’s century was a masterpiece while Mathews too showed that
there were no terrors on the pitch.
To reiterate, it is pitches like this that brings about a decision
and also brings spectators flocking to see the battle between bat and
ball. Test cricket for far too long has been boring and drawing big
yawns from spectators watching boring and drawn games.
And here’s former Sri Lankan off cutter Jayananda Warnaweera
producing a result oriented pitch in Galle and being lynched. Even the
pitch in Pallekelle was a sporting and result oriented one, with the
rains depriving Australia of another win.
The SSC pitch was a bowler’s nightmare with it being more than
friendly to batsmen. As a result it ended in a no decision with both
teams scoring heavily and ensuing a tame draw, that had spectators
cursing and mouthing unprintable words while making their way out of the
The ICC is quick to act on trivial things like the pitch in Galle,
but remain utterly helpless and paralyzed when it comes to getting their
much hyped Umpire Decision Referral System going. India are rightly
turning their back on the UDRS and what they are telling the sheiks in
Dubai and need not tell the ICC what the Indians think about that
Come the India- England one day series in India and the UDRS will not
be in force according to the ICC. The ICC said that the system will not
be in place because the developers and suppliers of ‘hot spot’
technology decided ‘not to make their infra-red camera available.’ So
the ICC is helpless. What a shame. When will the ICC ever learn.
When it comes to India, the ICC is helpless because they are the
power in the game today and the ICC will even genuflect and let India
have their way and not rub them on the wrong side fearing reprisals.
What happened to umpire Steve Bucknor during the Australia- India
series in Australia is a case in point.
Gayle and Warner brilliant
The on-going Indian Champions League Twenty20 which is nearing
completion, has been dominated by the big hitting two left handers in
the game Christopher Gayle of the West Indies and David Warner of
Playing in the colours of the Royal Challengers, Bangalore and New
South Wales Blues Gayle and Warner have been hitting some amazing sixes.
Unbelievable is the best way to describe their big hitting.
When they hit the ball it stays hit and some of the sixes have hit
the roofs or gone out of the ground.
While Gayle has a reputation for big hitting. It was been a
revelation to watch Warner. Warner becomes the first batsman to hit back
to back centuries in Twenty20 cricket. In one game he hit 135 in 69
balls and in the next game slammed 123 with 11 sixes the most sixes hit
in a game of this nature.
The Australian selectors will do well to quickly slot in Warner to
open the innings in Tests as well as in the limited over game.