The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Friday gave an official warning to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in relation to the ‘poor’ rating given to the pitch for the fourth Ashes Test.
The MCG, where the fourth Ashes Test between Australia and England was played between December 26 and December 30, 2017, drew criticism from both teams after the hosts scored 327 and 263-4 declared in their two innings while England scored 491 in their only innings.
In arriving at the sanction, the ICC noted the comprehensive response provided by Cricket Australia, which did not contest the rating given to the pitch by the ICC Match Referee, Ranjan Madugalle, but highlighted that the ground is a frequently used venue that has no history of preparing poor pitches for international cricket, and indicated that there was a commitment by both the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) and Cricket Australia to improve the pitches presented for international cricket at the MCG in the future.
The MCG Test was the last Test to be rated under the current ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process, with a revised process coming into effect in men’s and women’s international cricket from January 4, following the conclusion of the New Zealand versus Windies T20I series, which ends in Mount Maunganui on Wednesday.
The major change in the revised ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process is to the sanctioning system for venues, which present substandard conditions for international matches.
If a pitch or outfield is rated as being substandard, that venue will be allocated a number of demerit points.
One demerit point will be awarded to venues whose pitches are rated by the match referees as below average, while three and five demerit points will be awarded to venues whose pitches are marked as poor and unfit, respectively.
When a venue accumulates five demerit points, it will be suspended from hosting any international cricket for a period of 12 months, while a venue will be suspended from staging any international cricket for 24 months when it reaches the threshold of 10 demerit points.