WC pitches: ICC not trying to enforce anything

Mohali: International Cricket Council is not trying to enforce anything in specific with regards to the preparation of the pitches for the upcoming World Cup in the Asian sub-continent, ICC pitch consultant Andy Atkinson said on Monday.

"We are not trying to enforce anything in specific as there can be no way we can have a standardised system for the pitches. We only want wickets that have even and consistent bounce and that behaves more or less uniformly for 100 overs," Atkinson said after inspecting the Punjab Cricket Association ground here.

Atkinson said he was "fairly happy" with things at the PCA stadium and there were "no real concerns".

"I am reasonably happy (with the ground). There is nothing much to report," he said about the stadium, which is rated among the best in India.

"ICC is going to hold its Annual General Meeting in Dubai shortly where I am going to submit my report," Atkinson, who has so far inspected 13 venues besides about 30 training grounds during the past three weeks in the sub-continent, said.

The 43-day-long World Cup will be played in February next year across 13 venues in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, with the final on April 2 at Mumbai`s Wankhede stadium.

On being asked about the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in Delhi, where the final match of the India-Sri Lanka ODI series last year was being abandoned due to pitch behaviour, Atkinson said turf has now been re-laid and things are looking much better.

"I was there yesterday. We are expecting rainy season to begin and the pitch should benefit from that. Things there (Kotla) may be slightly behind schedule, but there is not
anything worrying. Stadium is looking good," he said.

Atkinson informed that there will be a "big inspection" of all the venues sometime in October, where a group of 15-20 top officials of the ICC will make a complete check of the facilities that includes the stadium, flood lights, airports, ticket allocations and hotel accommodation.

He said the ICC has directed to have the playing grounds shut 4-5 weeks before the mega-event begins.

To a question, Atkinson said that weather and local conditions play a key role in preparations of the pitches around the world.

“In England where the weather generally remains cold, we have 32 per cent clay content while preparing a pitch while in venues like Mohali it is 60 per cent. Clay content in Indian pitches varies between 50-70 per cent," he said.

He said the quality of pitches in India has improved quite a lot during the past 5-6 years.

"Grounds in India now boast of good facilities including training areas. This is a pat on the back for Indian cricket and the BCCI."



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