England pacer Stuart Broad has taken a sly dig at ICC after the pitch used for third Test between India and England in Ahmedabad was rated 'Average'. 28 out of 30 wickets were taken by spinners as Axar Patel scalped 11 wickets in the contest. Even England skipper Joe Root claimed a 5-wicket haul, much to the surprise of everyone. After the match ended in 2 days, it was the pitch which was the major talking point in the cricketing world. While some believed that India had the right to use the 'home advantage', experts opined that it was certainly not a 5-day pitch.
What is ICC's rating of pitches?
As per the norms, ICC rates all the pitches and outfields used in international cricket and categorizes them as Very Good, Good, Average, Below Average, Poor or Unfit. If the ratings of the pitch are 'Below Average' and 'Poor', ICC can impose 1-3 demerit points on the host venue. The accumulation of 5 such demerit points in a 5-year period could subsequently ban the venue from hosting international cricket for at least 1 year.
For the recently concluded Test series between India and England, ICC has rated all the pitches. While the surface used for first Test (Chennai) and fourth Test (Ahmedabad) has been rated as 'Very Good' and 'Good' respectively, the pitches for second Test (Chennai) and third Test (Ahmedabad) has been given a rating of 'Average'.
Broad's sarcastic comment on ICC's verdict
The third Test at the newly-constructed Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad was supposed to be a historic one. It was a day-night Test at the world's largest stadium and had a perfect setting for a grueling 5-day contest with series levelled at 1-1. However, things did not go as planned as the match ended inside 2 days, with only 842 balls bowled. It was also only the third Test in Asia to be finished in two days while being the shortest completed Test in terms of balls bowled, since the Second World War.
Wisden Cricket posted an update on Instagram after ICC announced the rating of the pitch used in that match as 'Average'. Broad certainly did not have too much to do on a pitch which did not offer any assistance to the pacers. The 34-year-old pacer bowled only 6 overs in the whole match on a spin-friendly wicket. Hence, the rating certainly did not go down well for him. On the post, Broad sarcastically commented, "Would be interesting to compare what pitches have been rated “below average” in world cricket previously, if any.”
Last 'Below Average' rated pitch
After Broad's comment, it was important to check the last pitch which was actually rated 'Below Average'. As per the records, the last pitch that was given this rating was the one used in Antigua during a Test between West Indies and England in early 2019. Broad was a part of that contest and it was a very similar case to Ahmedabad Test. 27 out of 30 wickets fell to pacers in that game. The hosts won the match by 10 wickets inside 3 days. Hence, Broad would have felt that 'Ahmedabad Pitch' deserved the same verdict.