More shame has come the Indian cricket board’s way after the Internataional Cricket Council (ICC) rated the pitch for the Pune Test between India and Australia as ‘poor’. India had lost the Test to Australia by 333 runs within three days.
ICC match referee Chris Broad, according to an ICC media release, has reported the pitch and has sought a response from the BCCI within two weeks.
“The International Cricket Council (ICC) today announced that Chris Broad of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees, who was the match referee for the first Test between India and Australia in Pune, has rated the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium pitch as “poor”,” the media release said.
“Broad, in accordance with Clause 3 of the ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process, submitted his report to the ICC in which he expressed concern over the quality of the pitch.
“The report has been forwarded to the Board of Control for Cricket in India, which now has 14 days to provide its response.”
According to the release, the BCCI’s response will be reviewed by ICC general manager (cricket) Geoff Allardice, and Ranjan Madugalle from the Elite Panel of ICC match referees. “The matter will be decided in accordance with Clause 4 of the process,” the release said.
This isn’t the first time an Indian pitch has been rated poor by the ICC. In 2015, the pitch in Nagpur received a similar rating from match referee Jeff Crow after India defeated South Africa in the third Test by 124 runs. Of the 40 wickets to fall in that Test, 33 went to spinners while Murali Vijay was the highest scorer from both sides with 40.
In 2009, an ODI between India and Sri Lanka in Delhi had to be abandoned in 2009 after match officials deemed it too dangerous for players. That prompted the ICC to bar the Feroz Shah Kotla from hosting any international match in 2010 after a detailed inquiry. The venue however was allowed to host matches of the 2011 World Cup.
Before that, the Kanpur pitch had come under the scanner in 2008. India beat South Africa by eight wickets within three days, prompting the ICC to rate it poor and officially warn the BCCI over the dipping standard of pitches offered in international matches.
It has often been alleged by visiting teams that the BCCI takes it too far when it comes to preparing turners at home. Officials in charge of preparing the Pune pitch have alleged that senior members of the Indian team management had interfered and that the preparation had been ‘hijacked’ days before the match began.
India captain Virat Kohli and coach Anil Kumble have always maintained that they have the skill to win on any pitch. But these allegations indicate something else might be happening behind the scenes.