ICC rates Dhaka outfield 'poor' for Australia Test
The outfield of the Shere Bangla National Stadium has been rated "poor" by ICC match referee Jeff Crowe who oversaw the first Test between Bangladesh and Australia last month in Dhaka. Crowe, 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 outfield.
The report has been forwarded to the Bangladesh Cricket Board, which now has 14 days to provide its response. Once they respond, it will be reviewed by ICC's General Manager - Cricket, Geoff Allardice, and Ranjan Madugalle from the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees.
"The grass was their main concern and we understand why they found it to be poor," BCB CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury said. "The weather this year was the worst in the last decade, but the groundstaff gave it their best."
The matter will be dealt by Clause 4 of the process in which the first occasion of such a rating is dealt with a warning and/or a fine not exceeding $15,000 given together with "a directive for appropriate corrective action". If it happens again within five years of the first finding, the fine goes up to $30,000.
Although the Test was held during Bangladesh's off season, the BCB's grounds committee was preparing the Dhaka outfield for months in advance. After the 2016 BPL final was completed, the outfield grass was completely taken off and the surface was relaid. But ESPNcricinfo had learned a week before the Dhaka Test, there were serious concerns about the quality of the outfield. There was even talk of the Test match being shifted elsewhere as most of the ground didn't have full grass covering, giving it a brownish look.
So much so that on the day before the game, Crowe was seen having long discussions with the stadium's curator Gamini Silva and BCB's grounds department staff. Reportedly, the ground wasn't handed over to the match referee in time as the groundstaff needed more time for last-minute touch-ups.
During the Test itself, the outfield seemed slow and some players privately spoke about the poor quality of a normally fine ground. This is the first time the Shere Bangla National Stadium's outfield has come under such scrutiny.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84