SYDNEY (Reuters) – Cricket New South Wales has expressed its disdain for a proposal to replace the Sydney Cricket Ground’s natural pitch with a drop-in wicket, saying it would increase the risk of “boring” cricket at the venue.
The state governing body said it had filed a submission opposing drop-in wickets after the SCG Trust, the venue’s management, formed a committee to look at advances in the pitches’ technology.
“The move to a drop-in wicket with lifeless uniformity will create the risk of boring cricket,” Cricket NSW’s submission to the committee said.
“Having a diverse range of pitches at different venues in Australia has been an integral part of Australian cricket for more than a hundred years.
“It has contributed to the success of the national team and continues to be a major component of producing world class players.
“Cricket NSW wants our best cricketers to still be able to experience a range of quality pitches at test venues which display their own characteristics.”
Most of Australia’s cricket venues have abandoned natural wickets for drop-in pitches, which are prepared away from the venue and “dropped” into place for matches, allowing multi-purpose venues to host other sports and events.
Drop-in wickets have been used at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for nearly a quarter of a century and at Adelaide Oval since its major redevelopment in 2013.
Perth Stadium, which opened last year, uses drop-in wickets after replacing the WACA as Western Australia state’s main venue for international cricket.
The MCG’s pitch has been under heavy scrutiny since it was rated “poor” by the International Cricket Council following a dull draw during the 2017/18 Ashes series.
“We’ve seen the impact of getting it wrong in Melbourne over the past two years,” said the submission signed by Cricket NSWCEO Lee Germon.
“We speak not just for cricketers in the state of NSW but for the game more broadly when we strongly advise the SCG Trust to heed the lessons from other capitals.”
(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford)