The International Cricket Council (ICC) has deemed the Newlands pitch, where the second Test between South Africa and India took place, as “unsatisfactory.” The assessment was made under the ICC Pitch and Outfield monitoring process, resulting in the venue receiving one demerit point. This demerit point holds significance, as accumulating six within a rolling five-year period leads to a 12-month suspension from hosting international cricket events.
Test Conclusion Raises Concerns
The second Test, won by India, concluded within two days, leaving both teams struggling to make runs due to the unpredictable bounce of the pitch. On the opening day, a staggering 23 wickets fell, with South Africa being bowled out for 55, and India, after making 153, losing their last six wickets for no additional runs.
Expressing their dissatisfaction, captains Dean Elgar and Rohit Sharma conveyed their concerns to match referee Chris Broad. Broad’s report highlighted the skippers’ shared sentiment that the pitch fell below the expected standards.
According to Broad, “The pitch in Newlands was very difficult to bat on. The ball bounced quickly and sometimes alarmingly throughout the match, making it difficult to play shots. Several batters were hit on the gloves, and many wickets also fell due to the awkward bounce.”
ICC’s Verdict and Consequences
In response to the assessment, the ICC has assigned one demerit point to the Newlands venue. This demerit point will remain active for a rolling five-year period. If the venue accumulates a total of six demerit points within this timeframe, it faces a 12-month suspension from hosting international cricket events.
Cricket South Africa’s Response
The report highlighting the pitch’s inadequacy has been forwarded to Cricket South Africa. The cricket board now has a 14-day window to appeal against the sanction if they choose to do so.
Potential Consequences for Newlands
The demerit point assigned to Newlands raises concerns about its eligibility to host future international matches. Cricket enthusiasts and stakeholders await Cricket South Africa’s response, as any potential appeal or action will have a significant impact on the venue’s standing within the international cricket community.
The ICC’s verdict on the Newlands pitch and the subsequent demerit point underscore the importance of maintaining high standards in pitch preparation. The concerns raised by the captains and the match referee reflect the need for a balance between providing challenging playing conditions and ensuring a fair contest between bat and ball. The coming weeks will reveal Cricket South Africa’s stance and the potential repercussions for the Newlands venue, shaping the narrative around the incident.