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Sight Screen

Friday, December 23, 2005

Queering the pitch

Here's a new one -- apparently the ICC is likely to probe the nature of the pitches prepared for the India-Sri Lanka Tests at the Kotla and at Motera.
Only Lloyd and others, said to be umpires Billy Bowden and Nadeem Ghauri as well as TV umpire I. Shivram, were unhappy with the general state of the Motera pitch. Lloyd was critical of the pitch when he toured India in 1983 as captain of the West Indies side when the Gujarat venue hosted its first Test. Lloyd maintains that the surface was as bad in this Test as it was when West Indies played at Motera 22 years ago. Claims then say he called it a dust heap.
This time however, Lloyd has asked for a probe by an ICC appointed pitch inspector, most likely from either Australia or New Zealand. The Black Caps have had a hand in helping prepare India’s pitches to bring them up to Test and ODI level.

Damned if I know what to make of this -- Lloyd didn't like the Motera pitch in 1983 and couldn't do anything about it then so he figures he can use his clout as match referee and get it 'probed' now? Be interesting to keep an eye on this one and see how it develops -- and what precisely the nature of the complaint is.
In passing, a trivia question for you: Which was the first, and as far as I know only, Test to be abandoned because of the dangerous condition of the pitch? Lloyd certainly would know the answer to that one; this is what he said when it happened:
"It is very sad because thousands have turned up to watch the match and it is disappointing for them. Cricket never fails to surprise me. It is just unfortunate at the moment but that is what has happened."

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