The International Cricket Council has handed the Melbourne Cricket Ground an official warning after issuing its pitch with a ‘poor’ rating for the fourth Test of the Ashes series between Australia and England.

On January 2, the ICC confirmed that the venue had been given a ‘poor’ rating following the Ashes Test from December 26-30.

The Cricket Australia governing body did not contest the rating given to the pitch by the ICC match referee, Ranjan Madugalle.

Cricket Australia did however note that the ground is a frequently-used venue that has no history of preparing poor pitches for international cricket. The body added that there is a commitment for itself and the Melbourne Cricket Club to improve the pitches presented for international cricket at the MCG in the future.

The Test was the last match to be rated under the ICC’s current Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process. A revised process came into effect in men’s and women’s international cricket from January 4.

Under the new format, a pitch or outfield which is rated as being substandard will be allocated a number of demerit points. One point will be awarded to venues whose pitches are rated by the match referees as below average, with three and five points to be awarded to venues whose pitches are marked as poor and unfit, respectively.

If or when a venue accumulates five demerit points, it will be suspended from hosting international cricket for 12 months. Should a venue be awarded 10 demerit points, it will be suspended from staging international cricket for 24 months. Demerit points will remain active for a rolling five-year period.

Image: Richard Munckton