Cricket New South Wales has reiterated its opposition to drop-in pitches at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The Daily Telegraph reported today that at the request of the AFL, the SCG has formed a committee to consider advances in drop-in wicket technology.
Cricket NSW recently presented a submission to the SCG Trust’s Drop-in Wicket Committee categorically opposing the introduction of removable pitches.
Signed by Cricket NSW CEO Lee Germon, the submission stated that the arguments against drop in wicket technology are clear and compelling.
“The move to a drop-in wicket with lifeless uniformity will create the risk of boring cricket that becomes unattractive to SCG members and attendees and the loss of the premier status of the SCG among Australian cricket grounds,” the submission says in part.
“We speak not just for cricketers in the state of NSW but for the game more broadly when we strongly advise the SCG Trust to heed the lessons from other capitals.
“Having a diverse range of pitches at different venues in Australia has been an integral part of Australian Cricket for more than a hundred years.
“It has contributed to the success of the national team and continues to be a major component of producing world class players."
In fact, Australia has lost just twice in the past 25 Tests at the SCG, a record that all cricketers and fans want to see continue.
“Cricket NSW wants our best cricketers to still be able to experience a range of quality pitches at Test venues which display their own characteristics.
“Natural deterioration tests the full range of a cricketer’s skill during the course of a match and makes each day an absorbing contest of its own which encourages the delightful art of spin bowling later in the game.
“The SCG has long-held the mantle as the most spin-friendly venue in our country, which has clearly assisted the long production line of quality Test match spin bowlers that have prospered from their time in NSW – Lyon, MacGill, Matthews, Benaud and O’Reilly to name but a few.
“The SCG is the only ground in the country where spinners are the two leading wicket takers across the history of the venue – Shane Warne (64 wickets) and Stuart MacGill (53 wickets).
It has been home to some of Australia’s greatest spinners, from Bill O’Reilly and Richie Benaud to current record-breaking slow bowler Nathan Lyon.
“Drop-in pitches simply do not deteriorate over the four days of a Sheffield Shield match or five days of a Test. In multiple venues, with some of the world’s finest curators in control, they continue to have a sameness about them which fail to express the unique characteristics that exist in Sydney with the natural pitch.
“One of the main reasons for this uniformity is that the technology used for drop in wickets is largely unproven.
"There are only four venues in world cricket that use drop ins for long-form cricket, each with varying degrees of success.
“We’ve seen the impact of getting it wrong in Melbourne over the past two years, where the Boxing Day Test match has been overshadowed by the MCG becoming the only Test pitch in Australia to receive a poor rating from the ICC in recent years, in addition to both MCG and Optus (drop in venues) receiving average ratings last season.”
The drop-in pitch at Adelaide Oval has curtailed spin bowling.
“The top seven wicket takers in Sheffield Shield history at the Adelaide Oval are all spinners (If you count George Giffen from the 19th century, who was a medium pace off-spinner).
“However, four of the top five wicket takers since the drop-in pitch six years ago are seam and swing bowlers.
“Deterioration is key to a spinning pitch, therefore there is a real risk that moving to drop ins will nullify the unique characteristic that the SCG is famous for, and risk it becoming just like any other ground around Australia.”