The pitches play an important role in the outcome of the match, especially the test matches. The tracks vary in different continents, though all of them require different skillsets to score runs and take wickets. The sub-continents surfaces are assistant to the spinners, whereas the pitches in non-subcontinent to the seamers.
However, there have been some dangerous and unplayable pitches in the past few years. The ICC introduced ‘pitch and outfield monitoring process’ in 2006, in which the track is rated as ‘poor’ or ‘worse’ by the match referees. Nine full ICC member pitches have come under such category so far, of which four are from the Indian continent.
In this article, we look at four Indian pitches that have been rated poor or unfit by the ICC:
1. Kanpur, 2007
The track of Kanpur from 2007 is one of the first Indian pitches to feature in this article. The pitch was too dry and has more than enough turn and uneven bounce for a Test match standards. The match referee, Roshan Mahanama termed it ‘not good enough’ for a red-ball game.
India defeated South Africa by eight wickets, with the match ending within three days only. The spinners, understandably, enjoyed bowling on this surface throughout the game. ICC gave an official warning regarding the pitch after the completion of the match.
2. Delhi, 2009
The pitch at Arun Jaitley Stadium, formerly known as Feroz Shah Kotla Ground, was rated as ‘unfit’ to play by the match referee Alan Hurst. It had an ataxic and vicious bounce – something that was very dangerous for the batsmen. The Lankan batsmen were hurt at regular intervals, because of that uneven bounce generated due to the spots on a few areas.
Hence, the last game of five-match ODI series between India and Sri Lanka could last for 23 and a half overs only. All the match officials decided to stop the game as the pitch was too dangerous to ‘continue on’. The Feroz Shah Kotla was banned from hosting any international game for a year after the inspection.
3. Nagpur, 2015
The rank turner of Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Jamtha, Nagpur is the third one to be the part of this list. This pitch was rated as ‘poor’ by Jeff Crowe, the match referee due to having excessive turn and jounce in it. The test match between India and South Africa ended within three days – thanks to the marvellous bowling performance of the Indian spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
In reply to India’s first innings score of 215, South Africa got bundled out on 79 only. Ravichandran Ashwin took seven wickets in the fourth innings and helped his team register a victory by 124 runs. ICC, though, gave a warning to the BCCI for making a pitch which was not suitable for the Test match standards.
4. Pune, 2017
Another pitch that was rated as ‘poor’ by the ICC is from the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune. The track of Pune was also a turner – something which backfired the Indian team. This match also ended within three days, with India ending on the wrong side.
Batting first, Australia made a fighting total of 260 and 285 in their both innings on a tough pitch. India made 212 runs only throughout the match – failing to even cross Australia’s innings score. The ground was given a warning after the close of the match.