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Jarrod Kimber writes I’ve never understood why people complain pitches are doctored by home teams. Of course they are. If a groundsman is making a pitch and he tries to make it fair to the opposition, he is a traitor. The only fair punishment for him is to be flattened by the roller while a bloated commentator no one likes sticks a key in him. If the ICC really wanted neutral pitches it would send out neutral groundsmen, or drop-in groundsmen as they call them in Australia. The good news for English cricket fans is, the MCG can’t be doctored. It is by definition a slow, dull, tennis ball-bounce pitch that not even a cricket CEO would like. You could drop in a block of ice and the MCG would turn it into a turgid square, where bowlers struggle and batsmen can’t get timing. The perfect Paul Collingwood pitch.
Alan Tyers writes As any fule kno, the best and loudest recent complaints about a home side doctoring a pitch were made in 2009, when Australia whined that England had prepared a dusty turner (good player, DF “Dusty” Turner, took a lot of wickets for Northants) at The Oval. Showing that their sense of humour goes much further than simply the lavatory or a man hitting another man over the head with a marsupial, Australia then decided not to pick a spinner, even as they simultaneously protested about how the pitch was going to spin, spin, spin. The result, of course, was a 150-over workload for occasional batsman North, M and the loss of the Ashes.
Weirdly Australia seem not to have learned from this, and instead of preparing a deck that will give them the best chance of winning (spicy) they will present England with a Christmas pudding that should give the tourists the quiet, stabilising draw they need before Graeme Swann spins them to victory in Sydney. You really are too kind, mine host.
Jarrod replies I never said it would be lifeless, just that it would be like Paul Collingwood. Trust an Englishman to think draw. I said it was undoctored, didn’t say it will be a draw. There will be a result and I doubt Australians will look soft when 90,000 screaming drunks are abusing the English players.
Alan replies Of course, the Aussies are denying that they even asked the groundsman to cook the books a bit. Ten years ago they would have thought nothing of manipulating the conditions into their favour by any means necessary. It seems almost sweet that they are too ashamed to try. The lifeless pitch at the MCG is just one more piece of evidence to support the theory that Australia have gone soft.
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