India vs England: When can a pitch be rated 'poor' according to ICC rules?

India vs England: When can a pitch be rated ‘poor’ according to ICC rules?

If a proper debate about the pitch used for the third Test is conducted, it might last longer than the entire duration of the Test match.

Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill
Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill. (Photo Source: Twitter)

There has been so much talk about the pitch at the Narendra Modi cricket stadium that if a proper debate about the pitch is conducted, it might last longer than the entire duration of the Test match. The criticism of the Motera pitch has been scathing, with the likes of Michael Vaughan and David Lloyd tearing apart the pitch used for the Pink Ball Test between India and England.

The pitch started turning right from the outset, and the willow wielders found it almost impossible to even put bat to ball. In fact, even a part-time spinner like Joe Root took a 5-wicket haul in the first innings of the third Test.

Root stated that the very fact that a part-time bowler like him could get 5 wickets speaks about the status of the pitch. However, the England skipper conceded that an element of home advantage is always present, for that is the beauty of Test match cricket. Root further added that a player needs to find different ways to develop his game.

“If I’m getting five wickets on there then you can tell it is giving a fair amount of spin, that sums the pitch up slightly. There always has to be an element of home advantage, because that is part of the beauty of Test cricket. You go around the world playing in all these wonderful places and you have to learn to develop your game, to find different ways. It’s just how extreme you’re willing to let the wickets be,” said Root in the post-match press conference.

What is a poor pitch according to the ICC?

Now, let us come to the most crucial part. How does the International Cricket Council (ICC) rate a pitch as ‘poor’? Let us briefly delve into the ICC rulebook to understand how a pitch is rated. A pitch would be rated poor by the ICC if the pitch does not allow an even contest between bat and ball.

In other words, if the pitch favors the batsmen too much by not even providing the bowler an opportunity to pick up a wicket, or favors the bowlers too much by not allowing the batsmen to score runs, then the pitch would be deemed as poor. There is also another important point that deserves our attention. The rule further states that if the pitch offers excessive assistance to spin bowlers, especially in the early part of a match, then it will be rated as poor.

“A poor pitch is one that does not even allow an even contest between bat and ball, either by favoring batters too much, and not giving the bowlers (seam and spin) from either side sufficient opportunity to take wickets, or by favoring the bowlers too much (seam or spin), and not giving the batters from either team the opportunity to make runs. The pitch offers excessive assistance to spin bowlers, especially early in the match,” says the ICC rulebook.

Well, the pitch certainly made life miserable for the batsmen from both sides. It would be interesting to see if the ICC gives a ‘poor’ rating to the Ahmedabad pitch. And, as far as the match result is concerned, the Indian side decimated England by 10 wickets inside two days to take a 2-1 lead in the series.