Recently, Brisbane's Gabba cricket pitch has been under the microscope after Pakistan skipper Azhar Ali said it was "potentially unsafe" and Ricky Pon
Recently, Brisbane’s Gabba cricket pitch has been under the microscope after Pakistan skipper Azhar Ali said it was “potentially unsafe” and Ricky Ponting questioned the conditions after Australia’s Day/Night Test Match against New Zealand. The Gabba has been under additional scrutiny due to reports that the wicket was ‘doctored’ to prevent a result against India in 2018, which ended in a draw.
The pitch at the Gabba has come under significant scrutiny after newly appointed coach Justin Langer claimed it is the ‘unofficial home of Test cricket’ in Australia. Azhar Ali commented on the pitch prior to the test, stating it had ‘unusual wear and tear’ and that it was ‘potentially unsafe’. This was in response to the Australian selectors’ decision to go in with four pace bowlers and no specialist spinner.
Ricky Ponting, a former Australian captain, echoed Azhar’s sentiments and questioned the lack of preparation of the pitch with it being devoid of any spin options. He said that the pitch looked like it had been prepared for three days only and was not a ‘true reflection of a day/night Test Match’. These comments have been taken as further proof that the pitch is being tailored to the Australian team.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) have responded to the criticism by announcing that they are to review the pitch conditions at the Gabba before the next Test match between India and Australia at the venue later in the year. This announcement has received a mixed reception with some believing that the ICC should take steps to ensure that the pitch is kept fair and impartial, while others think this kind of scrutiny could discourage teams from touring Australia.
Regardless of the opinion on scrutiny of the Gabba, one thing is clear; the situation has placed a spotlight on how pitches are being prepared for Test cricket and has highlighted that the Gabba is not a suitable venue for day/night Test matches. This is not a good advertisement for Tests and could have a detrimental effect on the game.
Potentially unsafe Gabba pitch under scrutiny
The Gabba pitch used for the first Test match earlier this month has recently been deemed “potentially unsafe” by Cricket Australia, prompting questions as to why the venue was used in the first place.
Reports of potentially dangerous surface conditions on the Gabba pitch have been growing in recent weeks. Australian fast bowlers Peter Siddle and James Pattinson both reported the pitch to be “too hard” for their liking, with Pattinson remarking that it felt like “running on concrete”.
There has also been some speculation that the pitch was uneven, with some players reporting that they played deliveries that bounced unevenly. Concerns over safety of the field have become so serious that the International Cricket Council (ICC) is set to launch a full investigation into the matter.
Is That A Good Advertisement For Tests?
The reports of a potentially unsafe pitch have raised questions as to why Cricket Australia decided to use the Gabba as the venue for the first Test match. With Test cricket struggling to draw crowds, it seems counter-intuitive to have a game played on a potentially dangerous surface.
The fact that the pitch has been deemed potentially unsafe is not a good advertisement for Test cricket, and could result in potential players or spectators shying away from the format. It also raises the prospect of future Test matches moved to other venues to ensure that players are playing in conditions that are suitable and safe.
What Is The Future Of Test Cricket?
Test cricket has developed a reputation over the years as a spectator sport that is slow-paced and relatively dull. The reports of potentially dangerous surface conditions at the Gabba only serve to reiterate this perception, and further compound the challenge of drawing spectators and potential players to the sport.
It is vitally important that venues are now chosen with the utmost care and caution in order to ensure that player safety is not compromised. The future of Test cricket depends on it.
The Gabba pitch used in the first Test match has been deemed ‘potentially unsafe’ by Cricket Australia, raising questions about why it was used at all. The reports of potential danger to players does little to raise the image of Test cricket, and could result in potential players or spectators staying away from the sport. Venues must now be chosen carefully in order to ensure that players are playing in safe and suitable conditions; the future of Test cricket depends on it.