New Zealand in Australia 2004-05 December 10, 2004

Australian board defends curator from Bracewell blast

Cricinfo staff

John Bracewell: lashing out at the curator © Getty Images

Cricket Australia has defended Kevin Mitchell, the Gabba curator, after John Bracewell questioned his decision to switch pitches for the final match of the Chappell-Hadlee Series because of heavy rain.

Bracewell, the New Zealand coach, said yesterday they were unsure what the wicket would do because it had "been changed two or three times depending on the results of the last two games". Bracewell also said a pitch switch could negate Daniel Vettori's impact.

James Sutherland, Cricket Australia chief executive, said a "month's worth of rain in two days" forced Mitchell to abandon his original choice of pitch because of insufficient preparation time. Mitchell instead decided to re-use the one from Queensland's ING Cup victory over Tasmania last Saturday.

"Australian curators are among the best in the world, and Kevin Mitchell junior is right up there at the top," Sutherland said. "We have utmost faith that his decision is the right one, and is made in the best interests of cricket."

Sutherland, who complained to the ICC this week about the condition of the Test pitch at Mumbai last month, said Cricket Australia did not give orders to curators and they worked on the principle of preparing the best possible wickets.