Demerit points to Wanderers ‘unfair’

09 February 2018 - 10:04 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Bidvest Wanderers Stadium. File photo.
Bidvest Wanderers Stadium. File photo.
Image: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Gauteng Cricket Board (GCB) chief executive Greg Fredericks has described the decision by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to give Wanderers Stadium three demerit points as “unfair”.

The match referee for the third test between South Africa and India‚ Andy Pycroft‚ rated the pitch as “poor” and three demerit points will remain active for a rolling five-year period.

The stadium will be suspended for a year if it reaches the threshold of five in that period.

“I think the punishment we got from the ICC was unfair for various reasons. That test match lasted for four days and our last two tests lasted for three days.

“On day three (of the SA-India test) 342 runs were scored by India and there were no complaints from them‚” said Fredericks.

Stumps were called early on day three by the umpires after South African opening batsman Dean Elgar was hit by a bouncer from Jasprit Bumrah on the helmet with the pitch showing excessive movement and steep bounce.

“To be truthful‚ we tried to produce a good pitch with pace and bounce but maybe we overemphasised that with our groundsman‚” Fredericks said.

“They tried their best but there were other factors because when we looked at the weather forecast for the five days we were expecting storms and nothing happened.

“The guys admitted that maybe because they were expecting storms‚ they did not water it that much as they should have.

“As you know‚ there are three things that are important when it comes to preparing a cricket pitch. It is how hard you roll it‚ the moisture and the last one is how much grass is on it.

“Our pitch had a little bit of grass and I thought they should cut it but they said that was what the South African captain wanted.”

Fredericks said it is fair practice around the world for captains to ask for pitches that give the home advantage.

“I think that it’s only fair and it is accepted around the world that the captain must get home ground advantage‚ but it should not go to the extreme.

“In India the wicket turns square on day one and I don’t think that makes for good Tests but we want a fair wicket and tell the groundsman to do what they know.

“Let’s not try to go overboard. On Sunday during the Pink ODI it will be a typical Wanderers wicket where if you bowl well you will take wickets and if you bat well you will get the runs.

“It is unfortunate that we got three demerits but if you look at the Newlands test it ended within three days.

“Centurion was not rated poor but our players did not enjoy what they were looking for because it suited India more than them.”