April 15, 2023

Border-Gavaskar Trophy – BCCI files appeal with ICC over ‘poor’ rating given to Indore Test pitch

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The BCCI has filed a formal appeal with the ICC over the “poor” rating given to the Indore pitch by match referee Chris Broad, an official of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association, which owns Holkar Stadium in Indore, told ESPNcricinfo. A two-member ICC panel will now conduct a review before announcing their verdict within 14 days.
The Test, the third of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series between India and Australia, finished well within the first session on the third day after 30 wickets fell in the first two days. Twenty-six of the 31 wickets in the Test went to spinners as Australia completed a nine-wicket win to claw back in the series after losing the first two Tests.

In his report, Broad had said that the “pitch was very dry and did not provide a balance between bat and ball, favouring spinners from the start”. He further stated that there was “excessive and uneven bounce throughout the match”.

Broad’s rating meant the venue has now accrued three demerit points. This will remain active for a five-year rolling period. If it receives two more demerit points, the venue will be suspended from hosting international cricket for 12 months.

Andy Pycroft, the match referee for the first two Tests, had rated the surfaces used in Nagpur and Delhi as “average”. Those Tests also finished inside three days, India winning both.

Match referees have six distinct markings for surfaces: very good, good, average, below average, poor and unfit. Only those rated below average, poor or unfit attract demerit points.

Indore was given short notice to host the Test after the BCCI inspection team found the outfield at Dharamsala not yet up to par after it was relaid in the winter. The BCCI announced the shifting of the venue on February 13, about two weeks before the scheduled start of the game on March 1.

It is unusual for boards to appeal against pitch ratings, but not unheard-of. In fact, the PCB did it recently – and successfully – for a demerit point given to the surface in Rawalpindi, which hosted the Test against England in December last year. Pycroft, the match referee there too, had rated the pitch “below average”. England won that Test by 74 runs.

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