Do you know that MCG pitch gets an average rating from ICC?
After giving the brand new pitch at the Optus Stadium an average rating, the International Cricket Council meted out the same treatment to the track at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as well. Post the culmination of the test between Australia and India held at the venue, the ICC as per its customary practice, rated the pitch as average, the lowest possible pass marks awarded to a pitch by cricket’s governing council.
However, contrary to the backlash the ICC faced after its match referee awarded the Perth pitch the lowest rating possible, there is no such criticism of their latest rating. The MCG pitch was a tepid track, one that despite having about 15mm of grass covering on day one, proved to be an extremely sluggish and slow track on days 1 and 2, offering nothing to the bowlers. Shot making was tough on the pitch for the opening two days before the pitch started deteriorating come day 3, misbehaving and offering variable bounce with some balls staying well below the knee region, hardly even managing to carry through to the wicket-keeper.
After discussions with the two captains and umpires, ICC match referee, Andy Pycroft’s report say that the MCG pitch gets an average rating from ICC.
Reason MCG pitch gets an average rating from ICC
It was this absurd nature of the MCG pitch which saw the match start off as a slow-burner before eventually nudging towards a topsy-turvy result. While a result was attained by day five on the pitch and the match lit up in the third and fourth innings, it was far from an ideal wicket.
It is not the first time though that the curators at the MCG have been guilty of making such a track. The Ashes test held in December 2017 received the same treatment from the ICC who came down heavily on the quality of the pitch rolled out, giving it a poor rating, a rating that means the pitch failed to live up to the guidelines set by the ICC.
Despite the fiasco, the MCG have found themselves in recent times owing to a poor pitch quality, they have been spared from incurring any demerit points under the International Cricket Council’s pitch rating system. Under the new system which was introduced early in 2018, pitches rated average will not demerit any rating points.
The rules say that pitches receiving a poor rating cop three demerit points and two if deemed “below average”. An “unfit” rating is the lowest and receives five demerit points from the ICC. Any venue which accrues five demerit points over a rolling five-year period will be unable to host international matches for 12 months as per the latest regulations.
However, despite getting a boost in hosting the December 26 match in 2018, a famous tradition at the MCG, the curators’ team is expected to revamp the current set of wickets at the ground. The pitches in play are over 15 years old and it is expected new tracks will be prepared to infuse new life and improve the quality of cricket at the ground. A drop-in pitch typically takes 3 years to be fully prepared.