Ahmedabad pitch, the much-debated one used for the third India-England Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium has been awarded a rating of ‘average’ which isn’t too bad according to standards, considering the negative hype it received from several England players which save the newly refurbished stadium from serious sanctions.
Ahmedabad pitch will now escape any sort of punishment, which could not have been avoided if the rating were found to be below average or worse. The rating for the fourth Test pitch, which was also played on the same ground, is ‘Good’. That Test lasted three days with India inflicting an innings defeat on England.
3rd Test At Ahmedabad Ended Within 2 Days And Attracted Severe Criticism From Former England Players
The third Test, which was a day-nighter, ended within two days and had a dubious distinction of being one of the shortest games in Test history, leading to negative criticisms from former English players like David Lloyd, Michael Vaughan, Alastair Cook, and Andrew Strauss. The England team management left it to the apex board ICC to decide on the quality of the Ahmedabad pitch while India skipper Virat Kohli blamed it on the failure of the batsmen.
Under the new ICC rules, that came into effect in January 2018, an ‘average’ rating of a certain pitch entails no punishment, and in that sense, the Motera pitch will not be affected by any means. A rating of poor or unfit would have resulted in serious consequences. A below-average rating would have led to one Demerit Point.
The pitch rating is given by the match referee in consultation with match officials, who used to be always from neutral countries. In the aftermath of Covid-19, the ICC was forced to oversee the games through home umpires, the process of grading also got ICC involved with the operations team of the world body working in co-ordination with the match officials. That way the verdict cannot be accused of being a ‘biased’ conclusion. Javagal Srinath was the match referee.
While debating on the Ahmedabad pitch, the match and ICC officials have viewed the footage and concluded that the third Ahmedabad pitch Test surface had the much-required carry, a key ingredient, the absence of which would have led to a lower rating. Further, the colour of the ball was also factored in and it was believed that the extra layer of pink coating facilitated the ball’s skiddy behaviour.
The statistics that were also taken into consideration were most Pink Ball Tests have not lasted the course. Of the 16 Pink Ball Tests so far, only five have gone to the fifth day, with two of them ending inside two days and five inside three days. Four pink-ball Tests ended on Day Four.
Meanwhile, the surfaces for the first two Tests, which were both played at Chepauk in Chennai, received the ratings of Very Good and Average respectively. After losing the first Test, which went to the fifth day, India won the series 3-1 after winning the last 3 Tests.
Ahmedabad Pitch Rated Average Not Substandard Which Would Have Seen One Demerit Point
In the revised ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process, if a pitch or outfield is rated as being substandard, that venue will be allocated a number of demerit points. One demerit point will be awarded to venues whose pitches are rated by the match referees as below average, while three and five demerit points will be awarded to venues whose pitches are marked as poor and unfit, respectively. Demerit points will remain active for a rolling five-year period.
When a venue accumulates five demerit points or more, it will be suspended from hosting any international cricket for a period of 1 year, while it will be suspended for 2 years when it reaches the threshold of 10 demerit points. A limited amount of seam movement is acceptable early in the match and that a pitch may develop some unevenness of bounce for pacers as the match progresses.
It is acceptable for a pitch to offer some turn on the first day of a match, particularly in the sub-continent conditions, though anything more than occasional unevenness of bounce at this stage of the match is not acceptable.
It is impossible to quantify the amount that a ball is “allowed” to turn as bowlers will turn the ball in differing amounts. The type and identity of the bowler shall be taken into account when assessing this factor. Ahmedabad pitch should have been allotted demerit points if the pitch was termed below average.