Brendon McCullum became the latest player to slam the quality of pitches at the Shere Bangla National Stadium during this season's BPL. McCullum's comments came after Rangpur Riders lost to Dhaka Dynamites by 43 runs on a two-paced surface where several deliveries stayed low or shot up.
Tamim Iqbal and Mashrafe Mortaza had similarly criticised the ground after the Rangpur-Comilla Victorians clash on December 2, when Comilla needed nearly 20 overs to chase a 98-run target. The BCB has reportedly issued a letter to Tamim for his comments, telling him to appear before the chief executive after the tournament.
The choice of these pitches has been quite perplexing, given that the BPL organisers prided themselves on the quality of players in this year's competition. McCullum said that the nature of the pitch is curbing strokeplay, which is a major problem in a T20 tournament.
"I thought it was a very poor wicket," McCullum said. "I think there's a lot of very, very good, world-class players in this tournament. People want to turn up and be able to watch some of the best players in the world which allows them to play exciting cricket. But I personally don't think that was exciting cricket. I think the tournament can benefit from better surfaces than the one we just saw today."
McCullum even said that his own performance in the BPL - 152 runs at 16.88 - was due to the inconsistent nature of the pitches. "Everyone wants to score more runs, but I think you have seen over the years that my game is suited to wickets that are different than what we have seen so far. You can't trust the bounce and pace of the wicket. We have seen balls that have gone through the top. Guys were telling me that pitches were very good couple of years ago.
"It is very hard to come in to the tournament as a stroke-maker when you can't trust the pitch. Of course, my performance needs to be better. But it will be nice to have a surface that is more consistent and has more pace about it. I will look forward to it."
McCullum also called for an improvement in the umpiring ahead of the knockouts. Rangpur were at the receiving end of two harsh decisions in their innings. First, Shahriar Nafees edged to the wicketkeeper, and the ball got stuck in the webbing of Jahurul Islam's glove. Though it was not clear if it subsequently bounced, Nafees was adjudged caught behind with no substantial evidence to overturn the on-field soft signal. Two overs later, Johnson Charles was adjudged lbw though he seemed to have got an inside edge
"When we batted, couple of decisions could have gone the other way. As the tournament gets into the business end, you need to ensure the umpiring is very good.
"On a surface like this, any decision which doesn't go your way can affect you. Johnson Charles today, who was looking in good touch, especially for a guy who hadn't played in a while, he could have gone deeper into the innings."