Queensland Cricket has quickly objected to using drop-in pitches at the Gabba despite accusations from the Brisbane Lions, the ground's co-tenants, that the surface has contributed to player injuries. Leigh Matthews, the AFL coach, would like temporary wickets brought in to keep the ground firm for his charges, but Graham Dixon, the Queensland Cricket chief executive, said performance was the main reason for dismissing the idea.
"The technology surrounding drop-in wickets is adequate but it does not compare to the conditions produced by a permanent block,'' he said. "The two instances where drop-in wickets are used regularly - at the MCG and in New Zealand - are due to the weather conditions that make it hard to prepare. The conditions in Brisbane are vastly different and we prepare wickets in the normal manner."
Dixon said if temporary pitches were able to replicate the performance of a permanent block he would be open to discussions, and he also dismissed comments the square was being prepared before the Lions' match against Port Adelaide at the weekend. "It has always been the case that the curator Kevin Mitchell Jnr does not do any work on the block until after the Lions' final training session of their season," he said.
In a busy off-season day for grounds, the WACA has announced a new head curator following the departure in June of Richard Winter, who moved to the MCG. Cameron Sutherland, who has worked for nine seasons on the South Perth pitch at Richardson Park, will start work in September.
Tony Dodemaide, the WACA's chief executive, said applications were received from around the world and Sutherland was selected for his skills and knowledge of local conditions. "Perth is renowned for it's unique pace and bounce," Dodemaide said, "and we're confident that Cameron will lead his quality team in producing pitches that reflect the ground's heritage and high standards."