AUS v SA: Melbourne Cricket Ground curator will produce a good … – Sportstar

FILE PHOTO: The second Test between Australia and South Africa will be held in Melbourne from December 26. | Photo Credit: AFP
Melbourne Cricket Club CEO Stuart Fox is confident that the curator will produce a good pitch for the second Test between Australia and South Africa here, after the series opener at the Gabba ended inside two days. The pitch at the Gabba got a “below average” rating from the ICC Elite Panel Match Referee Richie Richardson for being “too much in favour of the bowlers.”
South Africa captain Dean Elgar too termed the pitch bad for the game after his side could score just 152 and 99, losing the opening Test by six wickets. A total of 34 wickets fell in two days. However, Fox said he had “no doubt” the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) curator was doing his best to give value for money to the spectators coming for the Boxing Day Test.
“The press are putting more pressure on him than anyone,” Fox was quoted as saying by SEN on Thursday.
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“I’ve told (curator) Matt to not even pick up a paper for a read, he’ll do his job and he’s done a great job for the past three or four years. We’ve got no doubts about what we’re about to produce, I think it’ll be a good pitch and we’re not too worried,” added Fox.
The administrator added that he had not been paying too much attention to the chatter surrounding the Gabba pitch and, at times, was getting angry at people raking up the issue. “We certainly don’t listen to what’s going on externally. In fact, I probably get a little bit angry about some of the journalism around this issue, to be honest,” said Fox.
‘Fine line’
The ICC had given the Melbourne pitch a poor rating during the 2017-18 Ashes series and Fox said the MCG deserved it then. The fourth Test had ended in a tame draw with Alastair Cook scoring an unbeaten double century in England’s first innings total of 491. “We deserved it, we produced a poor pitch back in 2017. But since then, we’ve spent millions of dollars, got the right people in and in the last few years it’s been fantastic,” Fox said.
“So, we feel like we’ve done our job and I do get disappointed with some of the commentary right around Australia. These guys work pretty hard and it’s a very, very fine line these guys walk. It’s a game of inches really between producing a good pitch or a bad pitch, so there’s an art to it,” he added.
Fox also said he was not expecting a full house at MCG on day one of the Test. “I’d love to say yes (we’ll get a bumper crowd), but unfortunately crowds are down a little bit for cricket. We’re looking at about 65,000 for Day 1, that’s typically about 5,000-10,000 down on a normal Day 1 at the Boxing Day Test.”
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