New Zealand news February 27, 2012

Mills slams small New Zealand grounds

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Some of New Zealand's grounds have boundaries that are too small and pitches that are too flat, especially with the increasing power of bats, fast bowler Kyle Mills has said. Mills' comments came ahead of the second ODI between New Zealand and South Africa at McLean Park in Napier, where the square boundaries are a little over 50 metres long.

"I'm a bowler so I'm going to be a little bit biased. I think the wickets are too flat and the boundaries need to go out further," Mills told Fairfax NZ News. "The bats are all pretty good these days and a mis-hit can go for six.

"I think Hamilton is ridiculous. The ropes are 4m in from the [advertising] boards; that's absurd. Richard Levi probably would have got out three or four times if the rope was back on the boards."

Levi hit a record 13 sixes during his 117 off 51 balls, the fastest Twenty20 century, at Seddon Park. His first six was a top-edged sweep over the fine-leg boundary against the spinner Nathan McCullum.

Mills also called the length of the straight boundaries at Eden Park in Auckland "absurd".

"A good-sized cricket ground makes for exceptionally good batsmanship; we saw that at the Cake Tin [in Wellington], where there are reasonably sized boundaries," Mills said. "We saw plenty of ones, plenty of twos, and the odd three. It was great for people to watch a batter like [AB de Villiers] on a good-sized ground."

The ICC's playing conditions stipulate that the boundary rope must be at least three metres away from the fence/advertisement hoardings for safety reasons. It also says the shorter of the square boundaries should be a minimum of 59.43 metres and both the straight boundaries should be at least 64 metres. According to the playing conditions: "In all cases the aim shall be to provide the largest playing area, subject to no boundary exceeding 90 yards (82.29 meters) from the centre of the pitch to be used".

There is, however, a provision for cricket grounds that have smaller dimensions. "Any ground which has been approved to host international cricket prior to October 1, 2007, or which is currently under construction as of this date which is unable to conform to these new minimum dimensions, shall be exempt."

Edited by George Binoy

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • shovwar on February 29, 2012, 10:03 GMT

    Stop this nonsense....Mills trying to find excuses...I dont see SA bowlers complaining as they are doing their job even in this small ground....If Levi utilized the small ground..what happened to NZ batsmen? The grounds were not broader when they batted? Please perform in the field than talking rubbish...or atleast back up your rubbish sledging with performance. SA slapped bowlers like Mills and Southee in the face with performances and taught them how to play proper cricket. If Steyn glares he atleast backs it up with performance. And please give some credit to the young lad (Levi) where it is appropriate.

  • on February 28, 2012, 17:38 GMT

    The quality of comments on this website is pathetic

  • Legend_of_Marchant on February 28, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    What do you expect when you try and host cricket matches at rugby stadia ?

  • hersheybar on February 28, 2012, 10:45 GMT

    @Rzwan you said: " The matches in NZ are so boring to watch. Only Sixes and Fours. U dont see good fielding or running between the wickets"

    You must be joking mate! Were you watching the games? In the first ODI most runs scored were two's & singles... Did you watch AB's innings? and the fielding comment, cmon! We have witnessed some great cricket in the past few weeks :)

  • Marktc on February 28, 2012, 10:45 GMT

    Yes, there should be a worldwide norm, but both teams play on the same size pitch. And then to try to take credit away from Levi's brilliant knock is just cheap. Surely if it was that easy, there would have been many more big scores in the game. Maybe that 'Levi Bloke' is good. Funny, if NZ had won, would he have complained? Or had A NZ player struck a 100, then it would be all fair hey Jonesy 2.

  • hersheybar on February 28, 2012, 9:30 GMT

    @Luke Haynes - I agree with you, both teams bowled and batted on the same ground... so it's not like one team was disadvantaged @jonesy2 - Levi did hit 117 on a small ground, but how many other small grounds are there, and why has only a handful of other batsmen hit 100's? Give the guy some credit for a good innings :)

    Cricket is the winner in the end! Good luck to both teams for the second ODI!

  • on February 28, 2012, 9:03 GMT

    FINALLY IT TURN TRUE ..NZ PITCHES ARE ONLY HALF WHEN COMPARED AUSTRALIA...HOPE TO CHANGE 2015...NEW ZEALAND FAILING HOME SERIES BECAUSE OF SMALL PITCHES

  • on February 28, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    he didnt make this comment when mccllum scored his t 20 100 against the aussies?

  • Yolk_Eater on February 28, 2012, 7:44 GMT

    People who are saying that it's the same for both teams are not getting it. It's basically same for batsmen from both sides. I am sure Mills wouldn't like bowlers from the opposition to concede 6 runs of a top edge. The thing is , bowlers are being hit for a 6 when they could have picked up a wicket. What does a top edge mean? It means that the bowler deceived the batsman and the batsman was unable to time the ball properly hence the top edge, or the leading edge. Why should a batsmen get rewarded for a mistake? Agreed had his team won, he wouldn't have complained. But inside he still would not have felt good, because for his team to win, it would have required the bowlers from both sides being bashed and the batsmen making merry from both sides.

  • Slobberdog on February 28, 2012, 5:18 GMT

    It's becoming a farce. Tiny grounds are bad enough, but having the ropes in 4-5m is ridiculous. It's bad enough on the larger Australian grounds. Is it a directive from the game's administrators to generate more excitement through more boundaries? There are a lot of soft boundaries scored in modern cricket. Poor shots and mediocre batsmen are getting more than they deserve. I can just imagine how someone like Viv Richards would fare with today's bats, pitches and boundaries against the current crop of bowlers.

  • shovwar on February 29, 2012, 10:03 GMT

    Stop this nonsense....Mills trying to find excuses...I dont see SA bowlers complaining as they are doing their job even in this small ground....If Levi utilized the small ground..what happened to NZ batsmen? The grounds were not broader when they batted? Please perform in the field than talking rubbish...or atleast back up your rubbish sledging with performance. SA slapped bowlers like Mills and Southee in the face with performances and taught them how to play proper cricket. If Steyn glares he atleast backs it up with performance. And please give some credit to the young lad (Levi) where it is appropriate.

  • on February 28, 2012, 17:38 GMT

    The quality of comments on this website is pathetic

  • Legend_of_Marchant on February 28, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    What do you expect when you try and host cricket matches at rugby stadia ?

  • hersheybar on February 28, 2012, 10:45 GMT

    @Rzwan you said: " The matches in NZ are so boring to watch. Only Sixes and Fours. U dont see good fielding or running between the wickets"

    You must be joking mate! Were you watching the games? In the first ODI most runs scored were two's & singles... Did you watch AB's innings? and the fielding comment, cmon! We have witnessed some great cricket in the past few weeks :)

  • Marktc on February 28, 2012, 10:45 GMT

    Yes, there should be a worldwide norm, but both teams play on the same size pitch. And then to try to take credit away from Levi's brilliant knock is just cheap. Surely if it was that easy, there would have been many more big scores in the game. Maybe that 'Levi Bloke' is good. Funny, if NZ had won, would he have complained? Or had A NZ player struck a 100, then it would be all fair hey Jonesy 2.

  • hersheybar on February 28, 2012, 9:30 GMT

    @Luke Haynes - I agree with you, both teams bowled and batted on the same ground... so it's not like one team was disadvantaged @jonesy2 - Levi did hit 117 on a small ground, but how many other small grounds are there, and why has only a handful of other batsmen hit 100's? Give the guy some credit for a good innings :)

    Cricket is the winner in the end! Good luck to both teams for the second ODI!

  • on February 28, 2012, 9:03 GMT

    FINALLY IT TURN TRUE ..NZ PITCHES ARE ONLY HALF WHEN COMPARED AUSTRALIA...HOPE TO CHANGE 2015...NEW ZEALAND FAILING HOME SERIES BECAUSE OF SMALL PITCHES

  • on February 28, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    he didnt make this comment when mccllum scored his t 20 100 against the aussies?

  • Yolk_Eater on February 28, 2012, 7:44 GMT

    People who are saying that it's the same for both teams are not getting it. It's basically same for batsmen from both sides. I am sure Mills wouldn't like bowlers from the opposition to concede 6 runs of a top edge. The thing is , bowlers are being hit for a 6 when they could have picked up a wicket. What does a top edge mean? It means that the bowler deceived the batsman and the batsman was unable to time the ball properly hence the top edge, or the leading edge. Why should a batsmen get rewarded for a mistake? Agreed had his team won, he wouldn't have complained. But inside he still would not have felt good, because for his team to win, it would have required the bowlers from both sides being bashed and the batsmen making merry from both sides.

  • Slobberdog on February 28, 2012, 5:18 GMT

    It's becoming a farce. Tiny grounds are bad enough, but having the ropes in 4-5m is ridiculous. It's bad enough on the larger Australian grounds. Is it a directive from the game's administrators to generate more excitement through more boundaries? There are a lot of soft boundaries scored in modern cricket. Poor shots and mediocre batsmen are getting more than they deserve. I can just imagine how someone like Viv Richards would fare with today's bats, pitches and boundaries against the current crop of bowlers.

  • neilando67 on February 28, 2012, 4:53 GMT

    Yes, some NZ grounds are rather small and a little rugby shaped. On that I do agree.

    However, Kyle...does this mean you are no longer available to play in Hamilton, Auckland and Napier? Or will you just come up with a better strategy for bowling to opposition batsmen at those venues? Seriously, it's the same for both teams...

    And, having paid to see the ODI at the Cake Tin on Saturday night, here's two suggestions:

    1. Play Wellington ODIs at the Basin and generate some good old fashioned beer can rattling atmosphere.

    2. When batting, can the Black Caps please bat positively and responsibly? i.e. when you have 50, get 100 instead of losing concentration, and, when facing average bowlers in a power play or the death overs, try to create run scoring opportunities rather than patting the ball back up the pitch.

    Come on the Black Caps

  • pak94fan on February 28, 2012, 4:37 GMT

    I reckon they need to come up with a rule that makes all boundaries across the world a little similar in size.... I mean, square boundaries can be 59.43 meters to 90 meters, that's a ridiculously large difference... straight boundaries are slightly better, 64 meters to 90 meters, but there needs to be some kinda balance to make these huge differences a little smaller... maybe 65-80 for square boundaries and 70-85 for straight.

  • on February 28, 2012, 4:35 GMT

    yess...some of crickrt grounds are too small,,,not only in NZ but in other parts also ....far difference between Square boundary i 51-52 meters & 82 meters.....

  • zenboomerang on February 28, 2012, 3:34 GMT

    I think every comment misses the obvious that was mentioned in Mills first quote - "The bats are all pretty good these days and a mis-hit can go for six"... Where 20 years ago an edge/mishit would go to a fielder on the inner circle, today that same shot goes for 4-6... The power produced by the modern bat gives batters much more advantage over bowlers today & the rest of Mills comments reflect this central point... Personally I feel the ICC needs to restrict the thickness of bat edges back to a more traditional style & then we would see more equality between bat & ball & boundary ropes...

  • jonesy2 on February 28, 2012, 3:31 GMT

    well he is obviously dead-right, why do you think the levi bloke was able to hit 117 runs!

  • satish619chandar on February 28, 2012, 3:16 GMT

    Pity.. To draw crowd, the organisers reduce the boundary margin and bowlers do suffer a lot for this.. With Rugby being the primary sport in NZ, the organisers do need to these adjustments to draw crowds at the expense of bowlers..

  • Woody111 on February 28, 2012, 2:42 GMT

    This is an example of a fair contest between bat and ball - not one of equal for both teams. 20/20 already rewards poor cricket shots by the fields that teams employ. You can't then award 6 runs for complete mis-hits. Mills isn't claiming results would have gone differently; just that it's a poor starting point. On the MCG even with ropes in 20 metres top edges give a chance for a catch. This is how it should be. When batsman can swing wildly not worrying about connection because the boundary is only 50 metres that is not good cricket.

  • on February 28, 2012, 2:31 GMT

    Hes right but hes wrong

    - As a ground, yes they are to small - As a bowler, yes they are to small HOWEVER - Both teams had the same ground.. sooo guess hes just venting

  • on February 28, 2012, 2:26 GMT

    Finally someone speaks out!!! They are too small. Personally I reckon it should be atleast 65 all the way around if possible with 2 M for safe ball chasing... These are T20 size fields, not Test Match or ODI...

  • SRT_GENIUS on February 28, 2012, 2:18 GMT

    People who are saying that both teams were plying on the same ground... what if the boundaries were 10 meters ?

  • Damo23 on February 28, 2012, 1:59 GMT

    Short boundaries do absolutely nothing positive for the quality of the cricket on display. They should be as close to the fence as is practicable and on small grounds perhaps padded fences should be used.

  • on February 28, 2012, 1:47 GMT

    I doubt that Tendulkar's 200 had to do much with the boundary size because he hit only three sixes anyway, all of which cleared the rope easily. Plus, he was at 190-odd in the 45th over. It's coming from someone who watched the complete game. Regarding what Mills said about Levi's getting out if the boundary were pushed out: I feel Mills forgot that batsmen adjust their shots according to the boundary dimensions, so it's unfair to say that Levi would have played the same shots if here batting at the MCG. That said, I think the boundaries should be kept short for T20s, while the pitches should have a lot for the bowlers. So, make it tough for the batsmen to get a proper hit on the bat, but once he gets the good hit, he should get more reward for it. As for ODIs and Tests, boundaries should be longer and pitches, livelier. That's a different game altogether, and a better test of batsmanship, so make it harder. T20 is hit and giggle anyway, so make it entertaining.

  • on February 28, 2012, 1:43 GMT

    ICC dont care about how the bowlers feel anymore, its all down to making money which is from high scores from the most minimal amount of overs.

    so i highly doubt anything will be done about this.

  • FatBoysCanBat on February 28, 2012, 1:31 GMT

    @Scott Musgrave [and a few others]: You make it sound like Mills was making an excuse as to why we lost but the point he was making was that it makes for a better cricket match when the boundaries are bigger. True cricket fans would prefer watching a century made with good "batsmanship" [playing traditional cricket strokes and manipulating the bowlers and fielders] as opposed to an innings like Levi's where mis-hits and were going for six - I've watched cricket my whole life and never seen a batsman hit a top-edged sweep shot off a spinner for six over the keeper which is absolutely ludicrous...this came about due to the combination of a 50m boundary and the size of the bats these days. There is a real advantage to a side who fields first on grounds like this because the batting side isn't entirely sure of what is a good [par] score and are quite often found short.

  • on February 28, 2012, 1:27 GMT

    I feel NZ missed the boat when they were re-building all their stadiums for the Rugby World Cup - why keep Eden Park and AMI as not quite perfect for rugby and downright terrible for cricket when for a nominal amount you could have built boutique cricket grounds in each city and made them into better rugby venues? Cricket grounds, especially in NZ where 15,000 would have been acceptable capacity with 80% of that as hill seats are nowhere near as expensive as football grounds. Could have killed two birds with one stone.

  • SixFourOut on February 28, 2012, 1:02 GMT

    Mills is right. You can't have a fifty metre boundary, that's absurd. It's not like bowlers can pitch short on outside off, a nick might go over slips for six. There are few tactics that will help and luck plays far too much a role in outcomes, having said that well, done to levi, but in reality it's like scoring a double hundred at St Johns, good, but not worth a fifty on a damp WACA wicket. Relativity is important

  • hotwife on February 28, 2012, 0:50 GMT

    If the ground dimensions don't matter, since its the same for both sides, lets shorten them to say, 10m. Then a flip of the hip will go for six, and you'll only ever be caught if you hit it straight at a fielder. Same for both sides, lets get on with it.

  • getaclue on February 28, 2012, 0:01 GMT

    Couldnt agree more. I know in Australia as well that the ropes are sometimes as much as 20 metres in from the fence. Its ridiculous and almost makes statistics irrelevant nowadays. Someone that averaged 50 in the 80's is clearly better than someone who averages 50 now. And like Mills said, Levi would've been caught a few times in that space between the rope and the fence. it should be the minimum three metres the whole way around - regardless of how big the oval is.

  • Mighty_Battler on February 27, 2012, 23:57 GMT

    Slightly ridiculous comment from Mills that - Levi would have been out 3 or 4 times if the ropes had been back - Obviously the batsmen plays shots according to the boundaries which are in place. If the boundaries where back, the shot selection changes! However he is right that on these smaller grounds they should play to the fence...be nice to see if the modern player still has what it takes to dive into the hard stuff to save 1 run...I doubt a lot of them would!

  • on February 27, 2012, 23:37 GMT

    Dont rob the bowlers,make the boundaries in parity with inter national std,perfect example is Tendulkar who scored 200 because of shorter boundaries,even though other batters has played in similar conditions,but still its a BETTER chance for batsmans rather than bowlers

  • Woodsy71 on February 27, 2012, 23:16 GMT

    Well Millsy..........bowl a bit tighter and you won't have to worry about the size of the boundaries....nuff said.

  • on February 27, 2012, 23:13 GMT

    Same pitch for NZ too, Millsy. You have to bat and bowl to your conditions and whilst there isn't a lot in the pitch for bowlers, better bowlers will find a way. As for the batting, well, as I said, same conditions for both sides, one just used them better.

  • darsh127 on February 27, 2012, 22:49 GMT

    LOOOOOL, we really need indian players to come here- now

  • unregisteredalien on February 27, 2012, 22:32 GMT

    I don't remember NZ having too many complaints about Hamilton's size five years ago when they chased down 350 in a ODI vs Australia!

  • on February 27, 2012, 22:07 GMT

    Was the boundary just small for Levi's batting but too large for the Kiwi's batsmen? What a nonsensical statement!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • on February 27, 2012, 21:23 GMT

    Was the boundary just small for Levi's batting but too large for the Kiwi's batsmen? What a nonsensical statement!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dhoni100 on February 27, 2012, 21:08 GMT

    I do agree with him on this one. Not to take anything away from Richard Levi, whose innings was still incredible, but top edges were going for six in Hamilton and you can defend the ball for a straight six at Eden Park. The thing is though, to get a decent atmosphere you've got to have matches at these venues, because they're the only ones with enough seating capacity to hold the crowd. There certainly won't be any new grounds coming along, so I think he is stuck with it!

  • TrickyKid on February 27, 2012, 20:44 GMT

    He's right. While I enjoy T20, where's the fun in seeing mis-cued shots sail over the boundary? Levi's innings for example, while a tour de force, some of those shots would have been caught on most other grounds. I guess both teams play on the same paddock and it's all about the TV ratings...

  • on February 27, 2012, 20:39 GMT

    It shouldnt matter, both teams play on the same ground, so its up to the batsman to take advantage while they are out in the middle.

  • Rizwan1435 on February 27, 2012, 20:26 GMT

    totally agree with Mills. The matches in NZ are so boring to watch. Only Sixes and Fours. U dont see good fielding or running between the wickets

  • thenoostar on February 27, 2012, 20:24 GMT

    Given the number of empty seats at the games this year, we would be better playing at cricket grounds. I kind of agree that the ropes should be done away with and the boundaries become the advertising hoardings. If players want to dive and injure themselves, good for them but no one is forcing them.

  • CapeBosch on February 27, 2012, 20:03 GMT

    Couldn't agree more. About time this was brought up. Fair, the runs are not going to score themselves but what ever happened to good ol fashioned running between the wickets and not just a succession of yet more boundaries? Buffalo Park (not quite the spiritual home of cricket) used to play to the advertising but at the latest ODI they were a good 10 to 15m in on some sides, hey hey???

  • on February 27, 2012, 19:53 GMT

    Well what can say, stop playing cricket in rugby grounds!!

  • on February 27, 2012, 19:32 GMT

    Cricket is a non-scientific game except that there are a lot of numbers involved. Most of them are usually useless at the time of the game and the ones which are useful are not really in the game.

  • MrGarreth on February 27, 2012, 19:28 GMT

    Haha sounds like another bitter Kiwi and this one is even less surprising since he was one of the bowler on the end of that Levi onslaught. Newsflash Kyle, if Hamilton was so ridiculous why didnt NZ score 250? Why didnt they bat SA out of the game? I agree the ground was small but to undermine the innings of Levi by saying he would have been out on some of the shots is ignoring the fact that you and your team mate bowled horrendously to him and that your team had the exact same chances Levi had to take advantage of the ground. You make it sound like it was unfair. Both SA AND NZ had a chance to bat on the exact same pitch and stadium. And in fact you guys had first use of it. Even more advantageous. Jeez the New Zealanders have not stopped whining on this tour. From Southee to McMillan to the supporters and now Mills. Give it a rest will you!

  • HawK89 on February 27, 2012, 19:21 GMT

    Want a good sized ground with a balanced wicket for both bat and ball? go play in australia, south africa and sometimes england, when its not raining.

  • BurningBright on February 27, 2012, 18:38 GMT

    I feel for Mills.. some of the shots not worthy of being sixes..

  • on February 27, 2012, 18:16 GMT

    finally some thoughtful suggestions and good thing is that it is from the kiwi camp.... if u look at the facts kiwis are at the receiving end ever since the size of boundaries is reduced.... back in 2006-07(i guess) since then australia, pakistan,india, took advantage and won odi series here and now s.africa pulled off thrillers.... and now it's up 2 the nzct 2 decide on these things....

  • on February 27, 2012, 18:08 GMT

    Move on Kyle...unless you plan on lifting up the stands at Eden Park and moving them back 19 meters you are just going to have to deal with it.

  • Usmanpak55 on February 27, 2012, 17:51 GMT

    you are absolutely spot on mills.the boundaries are too small and pitches are damn flat especially in nz.the boundaries are kept small only for crowm entertainment which is killing the bowlers.it should be 65 to 70 meter from the pitch.give some respect to the bowlers nz board and increase boundary ropes extra 5 yards.plz

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  • Usmanpak55 on February 27, 2012, 17:51 GMT

    you are absolutely spot on mills.the boundaries are too small and pitches are damn flat especially in nz.the boundaries are kept small only for crowm entertainment which is killing the bowlers.it should be 65 to 70 meter from the pitch.give some respect to the bowlers nz board and increase boundary ropes extra 5 yards.plz

  • on February 27, 2012, 18:08 GMT

    Move on Kyle...unless you plan on lifting up the stands at Eden Park and moving them back 19 meters you are just going to have to deal with it.

  • on February 27, 2012, 18:16 GMT

    finally some thoughtful suggestions and good thing is that it is from the kiwi camp.... if u look at the facts kiwis are at the receiving end ever since the size of boundaries is reduced.... back in 2006-07(i guess) since then australia, pakistan,india, took advantage and won odi series here and now s.africa pulled off thrillers.... and now it's up 2 the nzct 2 decide on these things....

  • BurningBright on February 27, 2012, 18:38 GMT

    I feel for Mills.. some of the shots not worthy of being sixes..

  • HawK89 on February 27, 2012, 19:21 GMT

    Want a good sized ground with a balanced wicket for both bat and ball? go play in australia, south africa and sometimes england, when its not raining.

  • MrGarreth on February 27, 2012, 19:28 GMT

    Haha sounds like another bitter Kiwi and this one is even less surprising since he was one of the bowler on the end of that Levi onslaught. Newsflash Kyle, if Hamilton was so ridiculous why didnt NZ score 250? Why didnt they bat SA out of the game? I agree the ground was small but to undermine the innings of Levi by saying he would have been out on some of the shots is ignoring the fact that you and your team mate bowled horrendously to him and that your team had the exact same chances Levi had to take advantage of the ground. You make it sound like it was unfair. Both SA AND NZ had a chance to bat on the exact same pitch and stadium. And in fact you guys had first use of it. Even more advantageous. Jeez the New Zealanders have not stopped whining on this tour. From Southee to McMillan to the supporters and now Mills. Give it a rest will you!

  • on February 27, 2012, 19:32 GMT

    Cricket is a non-scientific game except that there are a lot of numbers involved. Most of them are usually useless at the time of the game and the ones which are useful are not really in the game.

  • on February 27, 2012, 19:53 GMT

    Well what can say, stop playing cricket in rugby grounds!!

  • CapeBosch on February 27, 2012, 20:03 GMT

    Couldn't agree more. About time this was brought up. Fair, the runs are not going to score themselves but what ever happened to good ol fashioned running between the wickets and not just a succession of yet more boundaries? Buffalo Park (not quite the spiritual home of cricket) used to play to the advertising but at the latest ODI they were a good 10 to 15m in on some sides, hey hey???

  • thenoostar on February 27, 2012, 20:24 GMT

    Given the number of empty seats at the games this year, we would be better playing at cricket grounds. I kind of agree that the ropes should be done away with and the boundaries become the advertising hoardings. If players want to dive and injure themselves, good for them but no one is forcing them.