Rahul Dravid has expressed his disagreement with the ICC match referees’ assessments of two pitches as “average” during the first 11 days of the 2023 ODI World Cup. He has called for greater diversity in the categorization of pitches as “good” or “very good,” which are the ICC’s highest pitch ratings.
Both instances of “average” pitches occurred in games where India bowled out their opponents for under 200 runs. The first occurred in Chennai against Australia on October 8, and the second took place in Ahmedabad against Pakistan on October 14.
“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.”
It’s important to note that there are no significant consequences for pitches being rated as “average” or even “below average.” Only when pitches are deemed “poor” or “unfit” do venues face the risk of suspension. However, “average” ratings serve as guidance to curators about the kind of pitches that the ICC finds acceptable. All other pitches used in the ODI World Cup matches played until October 15 received “good” or “very good” ratings.
Dravid emphasized the need for a variety of pitches in India and the team’s ability to adapt to different challenges wherever they play.
“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 seems 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, against Bangladesh in Pune and Afghanistan in Delhi, the opposition posted scores of 256 for 8 and 272 for 8, respectively. Dravid highlighted that ODI cricket demands a range of skills, and players should be capable of adapting to various conditions.
“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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