Ashes 2017/18: MCG admonished for 'poor' Boxing Day Test pitch
Recurrence of poor pitches could result in MCG receiving bans.
What's the story?
In a first of its kind, an Australian pitch was rated 'poor' by the match referee after the traditional Boxing Day encounter against England. In the wake of the same, the ICC has now sounded an official warning to the Melbourne Cricket Ground authorities after reviewing the report sent by match referee Ranjan Madugalle.
In a media release, ICC stated that it noted the 'comprehensive' response given by Cricket Australia and asserted that the MCG has no history of preparing poor pitches. It warned the CA and Melbourne Cricket Club to improve the wicket for the subsequent games at the venue.
In case you didn't know...
After the players, umpires and commentators lamented the drop-in wicket, match referee Madugalle had filed a report with the ICC stating that the MCG pitch was fit to be rated 'poor'. The lacklustre encounter between the arch-rivals ended with just 24 scalps over five days of cricket on the flat track.
The heart of the matter
After being thrashed by the hosts in the first three Test matches, expectations were stunted on the English visitors. However, they managed to draw the fourth Test match without any worries, all thanks to the MCG wicket which barely posed any threat to the batting units.
The hard track lacked bounced and remained on the slower side throughout the Test match, not providing opportunities for the bowlers to pick wickets. The venue has now received a formal warning but has escaped any fines. The apex body emphasized that the prominent cricket venue has a healthy pitch rating which could be adversely affected if the poor ratings keep flowing in.
The Boxing Day Test, which concluded on the 30th of December, evades accumulation of three demerit points based on the new governing laws that came into effect from the 1st of January 2018. The Australian Cricket authorities will be wary of that while preparing strips in the future.
Boxing Day Test matches are expected to be sporting spectacles but in a bizarre development, the MCG Test match proved to be a monotonous affair. The CA and MCC officials should take into account that recurrence of the same could result in the venue receiving 12-month bans, thus missing out on hosting Boxing Day fixtures in the future.