ICC World Cup 2015 July 30, 2013

A rental World Cup

The prefabricated surfaces prepared for 2015 are a case of character being traded for cash flow
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An American band called Houndmouth appeared recently on David Letterman's Late Show. Other than their good-time, mid-western tunes, the most amusing element of the performance was the tag "RENTALS" emblazoned across the group's bass drum. It was a joke, of course, but taking a glance down the fixtures for the next World Cup, it was hard to avoid applying a similar tag a little more seriously to many of the venues employed by the Australia and New Zealand organisers for 2015.

One of the first trends to pop out when observing the schedule for the tournament is that no fewer than five of its seven knockout matches will take place on drop-in wickets at football grounds - two at the MCG, one each in Wellington and Auckland, and one at Adelaide Oval, a ground that has just lost its famed strip of turf to the demands of AFL expedience.

Only the SCG has managed to maintain its place as both a cricket ground and a favoured venue, courtesy a partial facelift in the nick of time. Even then, the ground that was recently lauded globally for the graceful way it celebrated its 100th Test match had to beat off the entreaties of Sydney's drop-in Olympic Stadium, which has struggled to be loved by players even in a format as transient as T20.

By contrast, the Gabba appears to have lost out because its redevelopment arrived too early, being completed more than a decade ago. Little consideration seems to have been given to the fact that Brisbane and Perth provide two of the more unique surfaces to play cricket in the world. Certainly the incentive to retain a pitch of genuine character has fallen well behind that to ensure a venue is bigger, brighter and more entertainment complex than cricket ground.

Cricket's need to "fit in" among the other sports played around it in Australia and New Zealand has never been more succinctly stated. The game has become a minor tenant in many sporting venues across the two countries, and it is worth measuring the cost of this shift. Australia's struggling Ashes batsmen have complained about the loss of pitch characteristics around the country, and drop-in wickets do little to help.

The prefabricated surfaces prepared for 2015 are likely to be of the inoffensive kind that administrators can rely on for high scores and late finishes, but will not provide any sort of addition to the experience in the way the local turf did during the 1992 edition of the cup. Back then, the bounce and swing on offer in Australia contrasted neatly with the slower, lower surfaces on the other side of the "ditch" and provided a rich blend of tactical and technical conundrums.

As Ricky Ponting put it when looking over Adelaide amid its redevelopment last year: "Most often grounds change for the better, but sometimes they change for the better of other sports. When you look at our grounds now, all our grounds around Australia have always been cricket grounds but they've changed into football grounds more than anything these days, and cricket's trying to survive on football ovals."

In the case of the World Cup, there has been some level of goodwill extended towards cricket by the football codes, at least in part because a gap of 23 years between events is hardly a blip on the financial modelling of the AFL or Super Rugby. An AFL spokesperson told Melbourne's Herald Sun that "we are happy to work around their schedule, as this will be a fantastic event for the city, state and the country", omitting to add this was only true so long as it didn't happen too often.

The creation of room for the event in the summers of Australia and New Zealand has not been without scheduling compromises on cricket's side. Cricket Australia has mapped out a mere four Test matches against India that summer and has no plans to add another two against another touring team, as has become customary. This means at least two capital cities will miss out on their annual Test, with Brisbane again likely to fall victim to the schedule, alongside the perennially undersung Hobart.

The irony of this would not have been lost on Tasmanian officials in attendance at the launch as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a reference to the high government cost of installing floodlights at Bellerive Oval. Federal and state government funding has been a major factor in many of the upgrades that will be seen at venues in 2015. In return for this outlay, there has been a measure of political jostling to the handing out of matches. The high profile India v Pakistan pool match on the second day of the tournament is a fixture often referred to as "more than a game", but in the chambers of the South Australian government, it has been described as such for reasons less to do with border stoushes than marketing opportunities.

In the words of the SA Premier Jay Weatherill: "The government, through the South Australian Tourism Commission, had a specific strategy in bidding for a schedule that would guarantee the maximum exposure for Adelaide and South Australia. What has been announced today exactly matches that strategy because not only will India be playing their first match on the opening weekend of the tournament in Adelaide, but they will be based here for a week prior to that game, playing warm-up matches, including one against Australia. It gives South Australia an outstanding opportunity to get significant leverage into India."

So even on a day when cricket took a fair share of attention around Australia, New Zealand and the rest of the world, it was hard to escape the feeling that in 2015 it will be as much a pawn of footballing, corporate and government interests as a major player. Whether or not Houndmouth are still around in two years time remains to be seen. Either way, their drum kit will be in for more business as a result of the "RENTALS" label, just as the preferred cricket grounds of the 2015 World Cup have traded character for cash flow.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • tenschooners on July 31, 2013, 0:17 GMT

    Interesting that we see pitches used for internationals in Australia nowadays that lack character but those used in shield matches are considered to favour bowlers too much. The difference is the former focuses on making a game go for five days, or high scores in the event of one-day matches, therefore maximising entertainment and tv viewership etc. The latter ensures results for the state in which there is no crowd or TV rights to consider. I suspect there is more to it than just the drop-in pitches.

  • on July 30, 2013, 16:23 GMT

    Fair points raised by Mr Brettig. As an outsider it is disappointing to see the falling standards of the pitches in Australia. I just hope that the focus is more on preparing good ODI pitches as it is the least thing that a World Cup deserves.

  • Greatest_Game on July 31, 2013, 23:54 GMT

    @ Dashgar wrote "The pitches are still the best in the world. Drop ins or not. Look at the roads and mine fields that are produced in other parts of the world."

    SA has the only fast, bouncy pitches left. The cricket stadiums are cricket stadiums, not rugby fields or soccer grounds. The pitches at the Wanderers, Newlands, Centurian etc have retained their character for years. (The minor venue road that Aus A Played SA on recently is an aberration. Winter in Pretoria/JHB is bone dry. Desert dry. No major stadium would ever allow a game in the winter.) Oddly enough, the quick bouncy pitches in SA, which were once a standard in Aus, are now being called green tops and 'doctored.'

  • India-Do-Well on July 31, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    @LillianThomson - wrong. We are talking about ODI not Test. The 2007 team you refer too was just a bad Indian team (coach / captain issues, out of form players, under-cooked middle order) and would have not made the cut even if the tournament was played in India. You conveniently forget to mention (if we are going back years and has no relevance to the current team) that Indian made finals in 2003 in SA and won the world cup in 83 (Eng) and won the Champions Trophy in Aus in 85.

    Since 2007, we have won multiple ODI's in Eng, Aus , SA, WI, Pak, CT trophy. Yes we have lost ODI series abroad but we have won more than we have lost.

    In-fact I am not sure if you are a NZ or Aus fan but I would argue based on the current state of all ODI teams in the world that both Aus and NZ should be the the most worried. Unless both these team have good new players come in by 2015 an automatic semi is no longer guaranteed for either Aus or NZ.

  • LillianThomson on July 31, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    Expanding on my earlier comments......

    It's not that I think that lively pitches would automatically lead to India's elimination.

    Rather, I'm saying that the ICC isn't willing to take the risk of India being eliminated early after what happened in 2007.

    The 2007 World Cup was bloated, boring and treated with disinterest even in Australia, which won it. The main country with an audience interested in interminable ODIs at a World Cup is India, and they were knocked out on 23 March, after which there was one month of boring and irrelevant cricket leading up to the final. This included a 26 day process to reduce 8 teams to 4, with the four to go being Ireland, Bangladesh, West Indies and England, as everyone on earth expected.

    The ICC will never again take the risk of India going out early and its blue riband tournament being treated with the contempt and disdain of 2007.

    So India will get nice easy pitches full of runs. The advertisers will be happy. The ICC will be happy.

  • on July 31, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    This is a truly sad state of affairs and as an Indian I am sorry to say my country is to be blamed ... Cricket has been a beautiful sport specifically because its been played non-commercially for ages ... It is a game that plays over 5 days, expects crowds to enjoy every ball and every stroke even with the chances of a drawn test being significant ... It's grounds are places of history and character (the members pavilion at any old venue), there are no cheerleaders and no music ... Just the beauty of the game, lots of alcohol being soberly consumed and good picnic food ... Australia and England have always been the ultimate Test cricket playing and hosting nations ... I just wish there was some way to escape the commercial realities ... I wish we didn't need to compete with football and the rest ... I wish the IPL didn't exist ... Cricket will change, has changed and not just in terms of playing style but also the whole experience of watching and following ... It is a disastrous loss.

  • baghels.a on July 31, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    @LillianThompson, stop stereotyping and living in the past and keep your bias in check , India's defeciencies against short bowling on bouncy and fast wickets is a thing of past , this new look Indian batting line up is much better at coping with short pitch bowling , our u-19 team recently thrashed your Newzealand and Australian team recently and we won an u-19 WC last year , you should be worrying more about the current state of Newzealand and Australian cricket, Rugby,AFL and even European football leagues are dominating the popularity stakes in your own part of the world... you are a Kiwi right ?? everyone seems to playing Rugby over there and where will next generation of cricketers come, talking about Rugby" ALL Blacks" are simply fantastic and are an institution..

  • KH12 on July 31, 2013, 9:38 GMT

    flippin ell man, football is bloody taking over the world. i thought at least austrailia would keep their love of cricket, but even that's going down now. it's just all about money these days. one day people will wake up and realise what a sorry state the world is in, but by then it'll be too late.

  • Green_and_Gold on July 31, 2013, 8:33 GMT

    Is it the drop in pitches or is it the way they are being prepared. Can you not prepare a drop in pitch to that it plays like the history of the ground - thus keeping the character of Australian grounds alive. Ground have to find a way to stay profitable otherwise you lose out in the long run - no upgrades, poor facilities etc. Its just a matter of finding a balance.

  • SherjilIslam on July 31, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    @LillianThomson on (July 31, 2013, 4:18 GMT): Even after India lifting CT-13 comfortably with a new looking team and that too in England, you are expecting India to finish 3rd or 4th in the same group. May be you are still in the day-dreaming mode, if that is the case, then dream on.

  • tenschooners on July 31, 2013, 0:17 GMT

    Interesting that we see pitches used for internationals in Australia nowadays that lack character but those used in shield matches are considered to favour bowlers too much. The difference is the former focuses on making a game go for five days, or high scores in the event of one-day matches, therefore maximising entertainment and tv viewership etc. The latter ensures results for the state in which there is no crowd or TV rights to consider. I suspect there is more to it than just the drop-in pitches.

  • on July 30, 2013, 16:23 GMT

    Fair points raised by Mr Brettig. As an outsider it is disappointing to see the falling standards of the pitches in Australia. I just hope that the focus is more on preparing good ODI pitches as it is the least thing that a World Cup deserves.

  • Greatest_Game on July 31, 2013, 23:54 GMT

    @ Dashgar wrote "The pitches are still the best in the world. Drop ins or not. Look at the roads and mine fields that are produced in other parts of the world."

    SA has the only fast, bouncy pitches left. The cricket stadiums are cricket stadiums, not rugby fields or soccer grounds. The pitches at the Wanderers, Newlands, Centurian etc have retained their character for years. (The minor venue road that Aus A Played SA on recently is an aberration. Winter in Pretoria/JHB is bone dry. Desert dry. No major stadium would ever allow a game in the winter.) Oddly enough, the quick bouncy pitches in SA, which were once a standard in Aus, are now being called green tops and 'doctored.'

  • India-Do-Well on July 31, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    @LillianThomson - wrong. We are talking about ODI not Test. The 2007 team you refer too was just a bad Indian team (coach / captain issues, out of form players, under-cooked middle order) and would have not made the cut even if the tournament was played in India. You conveniently forget to mention (if we are going back years and has no relevance to the current team) that Indian made finals in 2003 in SA and won the world cup in 83 (Eng) and won the Champions Trophy in Aus in 85.

    Since 2007, we have won multiple ODI's in Eng, Aus , SA, WI, Pak, CT trophy. Yes we have lost ODI series abroad but we have won more than we have lost.

    In-fact I am not sure if you are a NZ or Aus fan but I would argue based on the current state of all ODI teams in the world that both Aus and NZ should be the the most worried. Unless both these team have good new players come in by 2015 an automatic semi is no longer guaranteed for either Aus or NZ.

  • LillianThomson on July 31, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    Expanding on my earlier comments......

    It's not that I think that lively pitches would automatically lead to India's elimination.

    Rather, I'm saying that the ICC isn't willing to take the risk of India being eliminated early after what happened in 2007.

    The 2007 World Cup was bloated, boring and treated with disinterest even in Australia, which won it. The main country with an audience interested in interminable ODIs at a World Cup is India, and they were knocked out on 23 March, after which there was one month of boring and irrelevant cricket leading up to the final. This included a 26 day process to reduce 8 teams to 4, with the four to go being Ireland, Bangladesh, West Indies and England, as everyone on earth expected.

    The ICC will never again take the risk of India going out early and its blue riband tournament being treated with the contempt and disdain of 2007.

    So India will get nice easy pitches full of runs. The advertisers will be happy. The ICC will be happy.

  • on July 31, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    This is a truly sad state of affairs and as an Indian I am sorry to say my country is to be blamed ... Cricket has been a beautiful sport specifically because its been played non-commercially for ages ... It is a game that plays over 5 days, expects crowds to enjoy every ball and every stroke even with the chances of a drawn test being significant ... It's grounds are places of history and character (the members pavilion at any old venue), there are no cheerleaders and no music ... Just the beauty of the game, lots of alcohol being soberly consumed and good picnic food ... Australia and England have always been the ultimate Test cricket playing and hosting nations ... I just wish there was some way to escape the commercial realities ... I wish we didn't need to compete with football and the rest ... I wish the IPL didn't exist ... Cricket will change, has changed and not just in terms of playing style but also the whole experience of watching and following ... It is a disastrous loss.

  • baghels.a on July 31, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    @LillianThompson, stop stereotyping and living in the past and keep your bias in check , India's defeciencies against short bowling on bouncy and fast wickets is a thing of past , this new look Indian batting line up is much better at coping with short pitch bowling , our u-19 team recently thrashed your Newzealand and Australian team recently and we won an u-19 WC last year , you should be worrying more about the current state of Newzealand and Australian cricket, Rugby,AFL and even European football leagues are dominating the popularity stakes in your own part of the world... you are a Kiwi right ?? everyone seems to playing Rugby over there and where will next generation of cricketers come, talking about Rugby" ALL Blacks" are simply fantastic and are an institution..

  • KH12 on July 31, 2013, 9:38 GMT

    flippin ell man, football is bloody taking over the world. i thought at least austrailia would keep their love of cricket, but even that's going down now. it's just all about money these days. one day people will wake up and realise what a sorry state the world is in, but by then it'll be too late.

  • Green_and_Gold on July 31, 2013, 8:33 GMT

    Is it the drop in pitches or is it the way they are being prepared. Can you not prepare a drop in pitch to that it plays like the history of the ground - thus keeping the character of Australian grounds alive. Ground have to find a way to stay profitable otherwise you lose out in the long run - no upgrades, poor facilities etc. Its just a matter of finding a balance.

  • SherjilIslam on July 31, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    @LillianThomson on (July 31, 2013, 4:18 GMT): Even after India lifting CT-13 comfortably with a new looking team and that too in England, you are expecting India to finish 3rd or 4th in the same group. May be you are still in the day-dreaming mode, if that is the case, then dream on.

  • sweetspot on July 31, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    Mr. Ponting is spot on and very polite when he says, "better for other sports". It's the reality of all big events worldwide - commerce wins out at some point when reality starts pinching. Cricket despite many of its hardcore followers and purists, really needs to look at actively recruiting a much bigger fan base in order to hold its own against other sports. The IPL now seems that much more of a very good thing going at the moment, in this direction. OF course it needs to get cleaned up and everything, but all of that is a far secondary to what it can do as an example for cricket moving forward.

  • on July 31, 2013, 7:32 GMT

    money also matters for Nzcb but csa is rich on that circumstances

  • AltafPatel on July 31, 2013, 7:31 GMT

    Cricinfo commenting section need to improve now seeing current trend. They might not include 'reply to comments' functionality to avoid dispute between the fans but can at-least allow agree/disagree buttons to make commenting more interesting and encouraging.

  • MB_Edinburgh on July 31, 2013, 6:53 GMT

    Spot on Daniel...

    I am completely saddened by the state of Australian cricket. It needs to remain commercially competitive but drop in pitches and ground redevelopments has created sameness, blandness and a game that is now somewhat robotic within Australia. Totally agree with tenschooners...there is more to it, thats plain to see.

  • crick_wizard on July 31, 2013, 6:27 GMT

    Its farcical that a tournament which barely has eight teams of international standard should have quarter finals! Which eight team make it to the quarter finals is almost a foregone conclusion (except maybe for a remote chance of an upset), which makes the qualifiers a farce. The super sixes format was much better, even if it means that fewer associate countries are able to participate and there is a greater risk of heavy weights getting knocked off early. I am not against associates playing in world cups. But what really matters for them is how much international cricket they play BETWEEN the world cups, rather than how many world cup matches they play. The unfortunate thing is that ICC remembers the associates only once in four years and hence not one associate country has developed strongly in the past 15 years.

  • anant15 on July 31, 2013, 6:04 GMT

    @Lillian Thompson...i think u are on the right track though the reason for ur premise is misleading..I dont think India need any help from anyone considering they just won CT in England and Celkon Cup in the Caribbean..In addition to being WC champs and no 1 team in ICC rankings, I wld say they are clearly the best ODI team going around..Sure they might not be able to give the thrashing they gave Pak, WI, SL and to lesser extent SA in CT, but still shd be good enough to qualify closer to top of their group on current form However, the Australian batsman need all the help they can get..It wld be a disaster for the organisers if the home team kept getting bowled out for an avg score of close to 150..of course it will need more than just good pitches to help the Australians..but its a start

  • Romanticstud on July 31, 2013, 6:04 GMT

    Drop-in pitches ... why don't they pick the pitch up and move it to shelter during the rain breaks with a crane so the pitch remains dry ... No need for covers on the pitch ... also use synthetic lawn ... no need to mow the outfield and it makes for quicker drying of the pitch ... Or better still do like Australia did vs South Africa at Melbourne when Andrew Hall keeped, bowled, batted and fielded in the series when Mark Boucher cut his hand while slicing biltong.

  • venkatesh018 on July 31, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    Change is the only permanent thing in life. Agreed. But every change is definitely not progress. IPL is a prime example. Ponting is spot on here. My only hope is that these drop-in pitches aren't sleeping beauties and will provide some pace and bounce, the unique trait of Australian pitches, so that there is a contest between bat and ball.

  • Lermy on July 31, 2013, 5:13 GMT

    All New Zealand needs now are some drop in batsmen!

  • on July 31, 2013, 5:09 GMT

    I find this article a little offensive especially as comes on the same day that the Aussies uncover burn makes on the Old Trafford wicket. It is a commercial reality in this part of the world that we can not run big grounds that are used for one sport.The Basin Reserve only seats half at best of the crowd they would get at the Stadium. Drop in wickets work well and make for very good one day cricket. In New Zealand during the last first class season scores of over 300 were not safe. I am looking forward to it and hope it is as good as the last time we co hosted the World Cup with Australia.

  • on July 31, 2013, 4:21 GMT

    We'll be playing baseball next, so the turf is taken out of the equation, beamers only gentlemen......

  • LillianThomson on July 31, 2013, 4:18 GMT

    I see another, darker side to the move away from the Gabba, WACA and Basin Reserve.

    It's pretty obvious that India would struggle on testing wickets and could face early elimination, as they are in a group from which South Africa, Pakistan and West Indies' pace bowling attacks would obviously carry them through. Even if India did qualify 3rd or 4th in the group, they would then either face England or Australia in the Quarter-Finals.

    But by dropping blancmanges into football stadia the organisers ensure that India will finish first or second in their group, then face NZ or SL on a drop-in blancmange at Adelaide or Wellington. India only has a single game against a decent pace attack on a traditional Aussie wicket, v West Indies at Perth!

    Sad, and completely bereft of sporting integrity.

    But the BCCI will be very pleased, and Cricket Australia and NZ Cricket will be hoping to reap the rewards for being so accommodating.

  • Snambidi on July 31, 2013, 4:03 GMT

    The Emblematic marking of the dep- sounding drums of the American Band "Rentals" is a good idea.

    BUt how it is going to help for high scores in the WC2015 is a matter that can not be easily relished unless someone makes it clear how the logic behind it is going to work.

    Any how good scores would enhance the popularity of the WC2015

  • Number_5 on July 31, 2013, 3:59 GMT

    Oh Daniel, dont get me started. Im an Adelaide Oval member and to see one of, if not the most beautiful ground in the world turned into a soulless stadium like any other you can see anywhere in the world has been very sad. In this day and age unfortunately you cannot escape the commercial reality. Shed a tear this summer when the test starts and you cannot see the hills, the cathedral and the Adelaide skyline. A number of my English friends are still in disbelief that we could do this in the name of "progress". Some recent teams here have accused Aus of doctoring pitches, nothing could be further than the truth, we are not doctoring them, we are killing them.

  • AngryAngy on July 31, 2013, 3:27 GMT

    The Melbourne wicket is better than the Brisbane one at the moment. The Gabba is a green strip for Shield matches, then suddenly bare and lifeless come Tests. Adelaide? Well they had everything that people decry in drop-ins for a hundred years before actually getting a drop-in. Surely it is preposterous to say they will take away Adelaide's reputation of being a batsman's paradise which straggles into a slow, uneven turner.

  • nzcricket174 on July 31, 2013, 3:14 GMT

    The ground which will be missed the most will be Adelaide Oval. It was once one of the most beautiful grounds in the world. Now, it has been redeveloped into a generic football stadium.

  • Markus971 on July 31, 2013, 2:48 GMT

    U r complaining about what Cricket has to do to survive!? I'm sure your tissue box was close at hand writing this article! Btw Adelaides cricket wicket has a chance now, to have some character!!

  • on July 31, 2013, 2:34 GMT

    Cricket as a sport is dying out. In the next 10 years there won't be any international standard cricket specific grounds in NZ so everything will be drop-in.

  • David_Bofinger on July 31, 2013, 1:10 GMT

    Is there a problem in principle with drop-in pitches? Or is it just the pitches we're choosing to drop in? Why can't we drop in a variety of pitches, including pitches that spin, and that are bouncy? Maybe each match could be played on more than one pitch, though I can see technical problems with that. We definitely have to get Australian pitch variety back, but I can't believe dropping the drop-in is the only solution.

  • funkybluesman on July 31, 2013, 1:06 GMT

    They've been doing drop-in pitches in Melbourne for ages now and have got pretty good at them. The thing to remember is, that this doesn't mean they just prepare the pitch elsewhere and drop it in for the game, it basically means that they remove the whole centre square at the end of the cricket season and then replace it after the football season has finished. This may actually make it quicker to get a centre square in good condition for the start of the cricket season when they haven't had AFL players running all over it through the winter.

    I don't think they are to blame. They go pretty deep in what they "drop-in", so it's still possible to develop a quality pitch as much as a normal centre square. The development of bland pitches has more to do with modern marketing and other such things than whether or not a ground uses drop-in pitches.

  • Andross on July 31, 2013, 0:39 GMT

    Perhaps someone can explain to me, Drop in pitches are prepared with real soil, and the same way as normal pitches, so why is there always this stigma attached to them that they are boring, surely if that's the case you just prepare it differently and get a different surface? I would have thought if you prepared a surface of Swan River mud, and prepared it along side the in-ground Waca pitch, the difference would be negligible.

  • on July 31, 2013, 0:22 GMT

    Once considered as world of cricket as AUS now Rentals oh my God dont say its happening in AUS cant imagine i had growth while watching cricket especially matches in AUS early mor in India now Rentals wakeup AUS cricket

  • on July 30, 2013, 23:46 GMT

    At least the drop-in pitches wont have crop circles burned into them like the one at Old Trafford

  • DaGameChanger on July 30, 2013, 23:45 GMT

    WC 1992 could've been the best world cup but it turn out to be the WORST world cup due to RAIN affected games and Australian version of D/L system. South Africa should've made the finals and many other games were affected due to that rule. Also Matt Damon would've been acting in Cricket movie vs a rugby movie.

  • mcdro441 on July 30, 2013, 23:40 GMT

    "...drop-in wickets at football grounds - two at the MCG..." Just wanted to point out that MCG stands for Melbourne Cricket Ground, and is operated by the Melbourne Cricket Club, so although they do use drop-in wickets, it is misleading to claim it is a football ground.

  • Dashgar on July 30, 2013, 22:32 GMT

    The pitches are still the best in the world. Drop ins or not. Look at the roads and mine fields that are produced in other parts of the world.

  • on July 30, 2013, 22:08 GMT

    Why don't the groundsmen/curators of the Australian grounds concerned speak to their counterparts in New Zealand who have been preparing drop-in wickets for many years.

  • mixters on July 30, 2013, 21:49 GMT

    Its interesting to read people miss the bounce there used to be in Australia. All last year and the one before I read many comments saying Australia doctors pitches to make them bounce I guess its what you belive that counts not what the actual truth is.

  • on July 30, 2013, 21:49 GMT

    Times are changing - get over it... Cricket and AFL have always been played on the same grounds from club level to international... I don't see the big problem so long as the drop in pitches play fairly..

  • on July 30, 2013, 21:23 GMT

    If Queensland Cricket decided to ask for the Ind Pak game instead of an Australian one it wouldn't have bothered me. One Aust venue had to miss out, and it was a shrewd move by SACA to host this one. Good to see Canberra got three games too.

  • on July 30, 2013, 20:32 GMT

    It's such a shame that all the fables I heard about bouncy Australian tracks by aficionados of the past are just that, fables. Watching highlights from the good old days of Dennis Lillee homes in the point about just how mellow the pitches have become since then. Thanks to the author, now we know why. Drop in pitches is a ridiculous concept from the perspective of a sports enthusiast.

  • on July 30, 2013, 20:25 GMT

    excellent article, I can not state my utmost disbelief that all of this happening in Australian cricket which was sort of benchmark, ppl used to refer to the system that CA follows to better their own ones and yet today it just shows that probably the Australian cricket has tasted too much success for their own good just like when one over eats he takes food for granted and lolls off, pity wont be seeing interesting contests as in 1992!!!!!

  • nafzak on July 30, 2013, 17:59 GMT

    Don't blame the pitch/wicket. Blame the proliferation of 20/20 for the ability of your batsmen being able to cope with batting in a test match. Winning, especially against England, will put people back in the seats. So, get better players and play less 20/20 (okay, that's impossible given teh fan support).. and start playing Test cricket under floodlights and maybe you will get better fan support.

  • mm75 on July 30, 2013, 16:35 GMT

    That's a bit harsh Daniel. By playing Australian rules football at the MCG, Gabba, and now the Adelaide Oval it means we have stadiums in Australia capable of holding 40k plus for cricket. Aussie rules draws the crowds and pays the bills. As a consequence stadiums are rarely sold out for cricket and Australian cricket followers enjoy cheap tickets - certainly cheaper than the £100 I paid to sit at Lord's last week! Not sure drop-in wickets are totally at fault anyway - probably the two most distinctive wickets in Australia (Perth and Sydney) have had their problems in recent years and have lost their character of 'old'. Neither venue, however, uses drop-in wickets. I know it's fashionable to criticise all elements of Australian cricket at the moment, and you certainly never miss an opportunity, but I think your criticism is misplaced in this instance.

  • mm75 on July 30, 2013, 16:35 GMT

    That's a bit harsh Daniel. By playing Australian rules football at the MCG, Gabba, and now the Adelaide Oval it means we have stadiums in Australia capable of holding 40k plus for cricket. Aussie rules draws the crowds and pays the bills. As a consequence stadiums are rarely sold out for cricket and Australian cricket followers enjoy cheap tickets - certainly cheaper than the £100 I paid to sit at Lord's last week! Not sure drop-in wickets are totally at fault anyway - probably the two most distinctive wickets in Australia (Perth and Sydney) have had their problems in recent years and have lost their character of 'old'. Neither venue, however, uses drop-in wickets. I know it's fashionable to criticise all elements of Australian cricket at the moment, and you certainly never miss an opportunity, but I think your criticism is misplaced in this instance.

  • nafzak on July 30, 2013, 17:59 GMT

    Don't blame the pitch/wicket. Blame the proliferation of 20/20 for the ability of your batsmen being able to cope with batting in a test match. Winning, especially against England, will put people back in the seats. So, get better players and play less 20/20 (okay, that's impossible given teh fan support).. and start playing Test cricket under floodlights and maybe you will get better fan support.

  • on July 30, 2013, 20:25 GMT

    excellent article, I can not state my utmost disbelief that all of this happening in Australian cricket which was sort of benchmark, ppl used to refer to the system that CA follows to better their own ones and yet today it just shows that probably the Australian cricket has tasted too much success for their own good just like when one over eats he takes food for granted and lolls off, pity wont be seeing interesting contests as in 1992!!!!!

  • on July 30, 2013, 20:32 GMT

    It's such a shame that all the fables I heard about bouncy Australian tracks by aficionados of the past are just that, fables. Watching highlights from the good old days of Dennis Lillee homes in the point about just how mellow the pitches have become since then. Thanks to the author, now we know why. Drop in pitches is a ridiculous concept from the perspective of a sports enthusiast.

  • on July 30, 2013, 21:23 GMT

    If Queensland Cricket decided to ask for the Ind Pak game instead of an Australian one it wouldn't have bothered me. One Aust venue had to miss out, and it was a shrewd move by SACA to host this one. Good to see Canberra got three games too.

  • on July 30, 2013, 21:49 GMT

    Times are changing - get over it... Cricket and AFL have always been played on the same grounds from club level to international... I don't see the big problem so long as the drop in pitches play fairly..

  • mixters on July 30, 2013, 21:49 GMT

    Its interesting to read people miss the bounce there used to be in Australia. All last year and the one before I read many comments saying Australia doctors pitches to make them bounce I guess its what you belive that counts not what the actual truth is.

  • on July 30, 2013, 22:08 GMT

    Why don't the groundsmen/curators of the Australian grounds concerned speak to their counterparts in New Zealand who have been preparing drop-in wickets for many years.

  • Dashgar on July 30, 2013, 22:32 GMT

    The pitches are still the best in the world. Drop ins or not. Look at the roads and mine fields that are produced in other parts of the world.

  • mcdro441 on July 30, 2013, 23:40 GMT

    "...drop-in wickets at football grounds - two at the MCG..." Just wanted to point out that MCG stands for Melbourne Cricket Ground, and is operated by the Melbourne Cricket Club, so although they do use drop-in wickets, it is misleading to claim it is a football ground.