The high-powered ICC Cricket Committee, chaired by former India captain Anil Kumble, expressed concerns on Friday about the “quality of Test pitches”, especially the tendency of home teams to prepare tailor-made strips that suit them.
“The committee also discussed a number of other issues related to Test cricket, believing a coordinated approach to the marketing of Test cricket was needed, and also expressing concern about the quality of Test pitches -- in particular the common practice of home countries overtly preparing surfaces to suit their own teams,” an ICC release stated.
Interestingly, it was current ICC chairperson Shashank Manohar’s home ground in Nagpur that received a lot of flak and got an official warning from the ICC’s Pitches and grounds Committee after a Test match between India and South Africa finished in two and half days.
Ravi Shastri, also the media representative in this cricket committee, was India’s ‘Team Director’ during the series.
Both Manohar and Shastri, however, were not present at the meeting, according to the ICC release.
Another key member of the committee and former India captain and current India A coach, Rahul Dravid, had also expressed his concerns last year about quality of pitches prepared in Ranji Trophy to get outright results.
“The committee received a presentation on ICC’s plans to bring greater structure and context to international cricket by creating dedicated competitions in each of the game’s three formats, and there was unanimous agreement from committee members that the current structure of international cricket needed to change.”
There were discussions on how Day-Night Test cricket could be spread keeping all the checks and balances.
“It stressed, however, that day-night Test cricket needs to be delivered to a consistently high standard across all member countries if the concept is to be successful, noting that the combination of ball, pitch, lighting levels and environmental conditions needed to allow for an even contest between bat and ball at all proposed day-night Test venues,” stated the release.
The ICC Cricket Committee had a long discussion about the future use of technology in international cricket, and particularly umpiring, after receiving a presentation from the MIT engineers on their testing of the current technologies used as part of the Decision Review System (DRS).
“The presentation covered the performance of edge-detection systems (both heat-based and sound-based systems), and ball-tracking with predictive path, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each type of technology, and how each could contribute to increasing the number of correct decisions made across international matches,” he said.
A detailed report, along with a list of recommended changes to DRS protocols will be finalised over coming weeks and presented to the ICC Chief Executives’ Committee and Board meetings at the end of June.