Cricket’s governing Body –International Cricket Council (ICC) has given an official warning to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) after its pitch was rated as 'poor' following the traditional Boxing Day Ashes Test between Australia-England, which ended in a draw.
ICC also asked the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) and Cricket Australia (CA) to first improve the pitches and the host any international cricket matches at the MCG in the future.
The flat and unresponsive MCG wicket was criticised by both captains, Joe Root and Steve Smith, for the lack of pace and bounce during the Boxing Day Ashes Test that ended in a draw, as the hosts lost just two wickets in more than 80 overs on the final day of the Test in the batting friendly wicket.
As per Cricbuzz, the ICC said in a release, “In arriving at the sanction, the ICC noted the comprehensive response provided by Cricket Australia, which did not contest the rating given to the pitch by the ICC Match Referee, Ranjan Madugalle, but highlighted that the ground is a frequently used venue that has no history of preparing poor pitches for international cricket, and indicated that there was a commitment by both the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) and Cricket Australia to improve the pitches presented for international cricket at the MCG in the future.”
Australian skipper Steve Smith had also expressed his opinion on the MCG wicket after the conclusion of the Boxing Day Ashes Test, saying the ‘wicket needs to find a way to have pace and bounce or spin’.
Smith had said, “It didn't change for five days and I would say that if it was played on for the next couple of days it probably wouldn't change either. It needs to find a way to have pace and bounce or spin. We saw some reverse swing but the ball gets soft and doesn't carry. I don't mind if they (the wickets) are flat but they need to have pace and carry. This wicket had none of that, it just skids. The 'keeper and slips were standing so close. I don't think it's good for anyone.”
While Match referee Ranjan Madugalle had said about the MCG wicket, “The bounce of the MCG pitch was medium, but slow in pace and got slower as the match progressed. The nature of the pitch did not change over the five days and there was no natural deterioration. As such, the pitch did not allow an even contest between the bat and the ball as it neither favored the batsmen too much nor it gave the bowlers sufficient opportunity to take wickets.”