England v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Edgbaston May 23, 2006

Warwickshire chief exec criticises groundsman

Cricinfo staff

Colin Povey, Warwickshire's chief executive, has attacked Steve Rouse after the groundsman blamed a fireworks display for the decision to switch pitches © Getty Images

Warwickshire's chief executive, Colin Povey, has attacked Edgbaston's groundsman Steve Rouse regarding comments he made over the decision not to use the ground's regular Test pitch just days before the venue hosts England's second Test against Sri Lanka.

Povey, who recently replaced former Warwickshire and England batsman Dennis Amiss as the county's chief executive, accused Rouse of making "loaded comments". Rouse, though, said the decision to switch pitches was due to damage caused by a firework display in November.

"Around half-a-dozen wickets had to be reseeded after the fireworks display and they still have bare patches on them," explained Rouse in The Birmingham Post newspaper. "So we've had to move about 20 feet down the square towards the Rea Bank [now the Eric Hollies] stand."

Povey disagrees with Rouse's comments that the firework display had a major impact on the pitch, while implying that the groundsman is blaming the county's use of the ground as a commercial venue.

"My own view is that the fireworks display was not a major reason," Povey said. "It is certainly not the be-all and end-all. There was a cold and frosty start to the year while the lack of sun has resulted in less [grass] growth than we would have liked.

"The Test is earlier in the year than normal for us, and we've simply tried to pick the best wicket available. It is not really that significant where on the square it is.

"Steve Rouse has a view on whether to use the site for commercial activities other than cricket. His loaded comments reflect that view."