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ICC Cricket World Cup – Rahul Dravid disagrees over ‘average’ rating given to Ahmedabad and Chennai pitches


ICC Cricket World Cup – Rahul Dravid disagrees over ‘average’ rating given to Ahmedabad and Chennai pitches

Rahul Dravid has expressed disagreement with the two “average” pitch ratings that ICC match referees have dished out in the first 11 days of the 2023 ODI World Cup. In doing so he has called for greater diversity in the kinds of surfaces that will be considered “good” or “very good” – the ICC’s highest pitch ratings.

“If you want to only see 350-run matches and rate only those pitches as good, then I disagree with that,” Dravid said before India’s clash against New Zealand in Dharamsala. “You have to see different skills on display as well. If you wanted to only see fours and sixes being hit, then we have T20 for that. Why do we need anything else?

“There are skills on display on 350 wickets also. That’s fine on that particular day. But in the first few games when it spins a little bit or something happens that brings the bowlers into the game, and you start rating pitches as average, where does it leave the bowlers? Why are they coming then? Play two T20 matches then.

“We need to have a better way of deciding what is good or average.”

There are no real consequences for pitches being rated “average” or even “below average” the next rating down. It is only when pitches are deemed “poor” or “unfit” that venues are at risk of being suspended. But “average” ratings are a signal to curators as to what kinds of surfaces the ICC will accept. All other surfaces at the ODI World Cup, for matches played until October 15, were rated “good” or “very good”.

Dravid suggested that there will be a variety of surfaces on display in India and that the team should be able to cope with the challenges wherever they go.

“I just want to see some variety,” Dravid said. “There will be some good wickets and games that are high-scoring. And there will be other games where the ball turns, and others where it seams a little bit. You’ve got a long tournament, and you’re playing in India in different parts of the country. There will be different wickets and different challenges. Teams that are able to cope with all those challenges are the ones that will end up being successful.”

In India’s two other games, in Pune and Delhi, Bangladesh made 256 for 8 batting first, and Afghanistan hit 272 for 8 batting first. Dravid said that ODI cricket involved different skills and that players should be able to adapt.

“We played in good wickets as well in Delhi and Pune, which were 350 wickets,” Dravid said. “There are different skills involved in one-day cricket, like the skill of rotating the strike, being able to play spin well.

“See the quality of watching a Ravindra Jadeja bowl, or a Mitchell Santner bowl, or an Adam Zampa bowl. Or watching Kane Williamson rotate the strike through the middle, and Virat Kohli and KL Rahul the way they batted against Australia. Those are skills as well.

“If you want a spinner to come in and bowl 10 overs for 60 and go, and one ball spins or two balls spin, and you rate that as average – I disagree with that.”

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