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Tall scores may prove a tall order

There’s some bad news for the Indian Premier League. The tall scores, which are critical to the success and popularity of the T20 format, will not be easy to come by in South Africa. Subhash Rajta reports...

cricket Updated: Apr 20, 2009 01:13 IST
Subhash Rajta

There’s some bad news for the Indian Premier League. The tall scores, which are critical to the success and popularity of the T20 format, will not be easy to come by in South Africa.

The low scores in the opening games in South Africa —- including the lowest ever (58 by Rajasthan Royals) in the IPL —- gave indications of what’s in store. Adrian Carter, the curator at St George’s Park here, confirmed the fears.

“I think the par score here would be around 160, and it would go further down in coastal venues like Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and East London,” said the curator. That’s quite a climb down from some 200-plus and normal 180-plus scores the league saw in India last time.

“We can work on the wicket and make it as flat as possible, but we can’t help the weather. It’s going to have its effect on the way pitches play.”

“We are heading into the winters here and it’s going to be a fairly difficult task to come up with perfect batsman-oriented wickets. If it rains, the pitches are sure to have something for the bowlers in them,” he said.

He said, he was trying his best to roll out flat surfaces. “Normally, we start working on a pitch here about seven days before the match. But for the IPL, I have started working on it about 11 days before to give it a good rolling.”

The curator also refused to blame the pitch for the lowest total registered in Cape Town on Saturday.

“I think it can’t be blamed entirely on the surface. The first match was played on the same pitch and it had a decent total.

The fact is that it’s always going to be tough to bat second under floodlights. No matter how flat the pitch is, the ball will get some swing,” he said. “The trend, especially in coastal areas, will be to bat first after winning the toss,” he said.

No matter what the trend is, one thing is certain: the IPL is going to see a lot less sixes and boundaries in South Africa.