IPL 2017 April 26, 2017

Fleming surprised by IPL 2017 pitches

ESPNcricinfo staff

Conditions in the IPL have not been 'traditional' this season, according to Stephen Fleming © BCCI

With a number of pitches in the competition defying their usual character this year, assessing conditions quickly has been a challenge for teams in the IPL, according to the Rising Pune Supergiant coach Stephen Fleming.

In his column in the Times of India, Fleming has written that conditions in some grounds have been more difficult to bat in than in previous seasons, leading to a better balance between bat and ball. He took the example of Rising Pune defending 160 to beat Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium.

"Conditions have not been traditional this season," Fleming wrote. "Bangalore, for example, is a low-scoring ground. Mumbai was very dry, with not a lot of dew, while Kolkata produced a seaming wicket, with quite a bit of pace and bounce.

"Therefore, the key this year is to read the conditions and play accordingly. So even though people may have expected us to score more than we did against Mumbai, 160 on that pitch was a challenging total. The expectations of fans may be based on past years but this edition of the IPL has seen the world's best players struggle to score at the death.

"That means one of two things - either the bowling has been extremely good or the conditions aren't easy to score in, particularly when the ball gets old. I feel the balanced competition is a good thing, instead of 190-200 every time. The best T20 games are often the low-scoring ones."

Rising Pune's win at the Wankhede came a day after Kolkata Knight Riders defended 131 to win an even more low-scoring game at the Eden Gardens, where Royal Challengers Bangalore slid to 49 all out, the lowest-ever IPL total. According to Jacques Kallis, the Kolkata Knight Riders coach, the scores were a reflection of poor batting techniques rather than a particularly diabolical pitch.

"There was absolutely nothing 'wrong' with the pitch for that match," Kallis wrote in his Times of India column. "There was a little bit more pace and bounce than the average Indian pitch - and certainly more than there used to be at the Gardens - but nothing that a decent technique couldn't handle.

"In truth, it was a poor batting display from both teams."

Rising Pune and Kolkata Knight Riders meet on Wednesday evening at the MCA Stadium in Pune. Knight Riders are second on the table with five wins from seven matches, while Rising Pune are fourth with four wins in seven.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jbdhar2967559 on April 26, 2017, 14:40 GMT

    "...the conditions aren't easy to score in, particularly when the ball gets old"

    I have difficulty in understanding such statement. Is the white ball used for a 50-over and a 20-over match any different in quality? How come around 16 overs the ball becomes old and soft in a T20 and stays relatively new in an ODI. I have also heard commentators saying that in a T20, bowler X should come after 10 overs because the ball will start reversing while in an ODI the bowler should come after 30 overs to reverse the ball. These kind of comments really baffle me

  • Iman on April 26, 2017, 12:00 GMT

    The relaid Eden Gardens pitch, with is zip and the bounce, along with the general assistance to swing it always had ( the high water table, humidity, and close proximity to a large perennial river) is hands down the most seamer friendly of all the major venues in India. Leave a little bit of grass, and see the "chin music" in action big time. I am loving it.

  • Kiran on April 26, 2017, 10:25 GMT

    Kolkata has been relaid very recently and it is expected to provided some assistance to the faster bowlers. Bangalore was dug up to install the new drainage system and that messed up the pitch conditions. Most of the other squares have not been relaid in years and the heat wave is sucking the life out of these pitches making them dry and reducing the scores. If Dharmashala is a venue we would have seen some high scoring matches.

  • Srivatsan on April 26, 2017, 10:04 GMT

    Stephen Fleming's observation is on the ball. CSK benefited a lot from his thinking and direction.

  • Christin on April 26, 2017, 8:02 GMT

    Trend is now changing i.e. bat first,win match :-P

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