ICC changes Indore pitch rating from ‘poor’ to ‘below average’

The ICC has changed the “poor” rating given to the Indore pitch, for the third India vs Australia Test, to “below average” following an appeal from the BCCI. As a result, the Holkar Stadium pitch now has one demerit point and not three, which was the case for the earlier rating.

A panel comprising Wasim Khan and Roger Harper reviewed footage from the Test. An ICC statement said that both Wasim, ICC’s general manager – cricket, and Harper, ICC men’s cricket committee member, felt that “the guidelines had been followed” by match referee Chris Broad, but “there was not enough excessive variable bounce to warrant the ‘poor’ rating”.

The Indore Test lasted less than seven sessions, with Australia winning by nine wickets. Overall, 26 of the 31 wickets fell to spinners after a 14-wicket first day. While announcing the “poor” rating, Broad had noted that “the pitch, which was very dry, did not provide a balance between bat and ball, favouring spinners from the start”.

The other three pitches for the series – which India won 2-1 to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy – in Nagpur, Delhi and Ahmedabad have received “average” ratings.

Indore was not one of the original venues for the series, and were given short notice after the Dharamsala outfield was deemed below par. The BCCI announced the shift to Indore on February 13, about two weeks before the start of the game on March 1.

The last time a pitch in India was rated poor was in 2017, when Australia beat India on a similarly turning surface in Pune. Broad was match referee on that occasion too.

The ICC rates pitches in six categories: very good, good, average, below average, poor and unfit. If any ground receives five or more demerit points in a five-year rolling period, it is suspended from hosting any international cricket for 12 months.

It is unusual for boards to appeal against pitch ratings, but not unheard-of. In fact, the PCB did it recently – and successfully – for a demerit point given to the surface in Rawalpindi, which hosted the Test against England in December last year. Pycroft, the match referee there too, had rated the pitch “below average”. England won that Test by 74 runs.

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