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South Africa v India

The Wanderers could be banned from hosting international cricket by the ICC if the pitch is rated ‘poor’

The Wanderers Could Be Banned From Hosting International Cricket By The ICC If The Pitch Is Rated 'Poor'
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

The Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg is in danger of copping a 12-month ban from hosting international cricket if it receives a ‘poor’ pitch rating in the ongoing South Africa-India Test.

The surface used for the second South Africa-India Test has come in for some criticism, with former India cricketer Aakash Chopra tweeting that the wicket has “too much of uneven bounce” for the second day of a Test match.

However, he also noted that, in his view, the conditions weren’t as bad as those witnessed when India last toured South Africa in 2018. Play was called off early on the third evening as the uneven bounce became excessive, while after the game, Dean Elgar, who carried his bat for 86 in a 63-run defeat, said the match should have been called off.


“I do think [it should have been called off earlier]. On day three, the wicket didn’t play great. Batters got hit a hell of a lot of times. If there was a period to call it off, it was sooner,” Elgar said. “We had an incident of being hit in the head, where we could have had an incident of what happened in Australia. People want to watch Test cricket but we are also human beings. We are not just going to take blows and accept putting our bodies on the line. The situation could have been addressed sooner.”

That pitch was rated ‘poor’, leading to The Wanderers being given three demerit points. If a ground receives five demerit points in a rolling five-year period, it will be banned from hosting international cricket for 12 months.

A ground will receive one demerit point if a pitch is rated ‘below average’, and three if a pitch is rated ‘poor’. According to the ICC’s Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process, a pitch can be rated ‘below average’ if it shows “occasional variable (but not excessive or dangerous) bounce and/or occasional variable carry”, while it can be rated ‘poor’ if it shows “excessive unevenness of bounce for any bowler at any stage of the match”.

It’s likely that as it stands, The Wanderers will at worst fall into the ‘below average’ category. But according to CricViz, the surface on day one was actually harder to bat on than the day one surface in the 2018 Test.

South Africa’s administrators might be watching on nervously, hoping the conditions don’t worsen further.

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