Cricket New South Wales has expressed its opposition to drop-in pitches being introduced at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in favour of the current natural turf.
Although primarily a cricket venue, the stadium also hosts AFL Aussie rules and football matches. It has been reported that the AFL has requested the SCG to form a committee to consider advances in drop-in wicket technology and Cricket New South Wales has today (Tuesday) reiterated its disdain for the proposal.
The state governing body recently presented a submission to the SCG Trust’s Drop-in Wicket Committee to express its opposition to the introduction of removable pitches.
The submission states: “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.
“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.”
Cricket New South Wales noted that Australia has only lost two of the past 25 Tests at the SCG and said it feels cricketers and fans alike will want to see this record continue.
The body also pointed out that the natural deterioration of the SCG’s current playing surface tests cricketers’ full range of skills, adding that drop-in pitches would not provide such a tough examination.
The Sydney Swans AFL team plays its home matches at the SCG and has previously expressed its preference for drop-in technology due to concerns over the centre square of the natural turf.
Drop-in wickets are currently used at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Adelaide Oval and Perth’s Optus Stadium.
The MCG pitch was last year handed a ‘poor’ rating by the International Cricket Council following the fourth Test of the Ashes series between Australia and England.
Image: Marc Dalmulder