The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has filed a formal appeal with International Cricket Council (ICC) over the ‘poor’ rating given to the pitch of the Indore Test by match referee Chris Broad.
According to an ESPNcricinfo report, a two-member ICC panel will now conduct a review before announcing their verdict within 14 days.
The Test, the third of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series between India and Australia and part of the World Test Championship (WTC) finished well within the first session on the third day after 30 wickets fell in the first two days at the Holkar Stadium.
Twenty-six of the 31 wickets in the Test went to spinners as Australia completed a nine-wicket win to claw back in the series after losing the first two Tests.
After the end of the game, match referee Broad in his report had said that the “pitch was very dry and did not provide a balance between bat and ball, favouring spinners from the start”. He further stated that there was “excessive and uneven bounce throughout the match”.
Broad’s rating meant the venue has now accrued three demerit points and this will remain active for a five-year rolling period.
The serious part of the Match Referee’s verdict is the impending danger of suspension to the ground. As per the rules, “When a venue accumulates five demerit points (or crosses that threshold), 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.”
Earlier, Andy Pycroft, the match referee for the first two Tests, had rated the surfaces used in Nagpur and Delhi as “average”. Those Tests also finished inside three days, India winning both.
Notaly, match referees have six distinct markings for surfaces: very good, good, average, below average, poor and unfit. Only those rated below average, poor or unfit attract demerit points.
An ICC reconsideration or a review is not unprecedented. Recently, the world body had rescinded its decision on the Rawalpindi pitch which was initially declared ‘Below Average’ and allotted one demerit point. But on an appeal by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the ICC went back on its rating and withdrew the punitive measure to the stadium that hosted a WTC Test between Pakistan and England from December 1 to 5.