Tuesday, March 2, 2021
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With Test matches consistently ending within 2 or 3 days of actual play, is it time to strip Lord’s status as a Test venue?

There is a responsibility to preserve Test cricket as it is finding itself under threat from other sources.

Before we begin, have a look at the number of overs bowled in the last 5 Test matches played at Lord’s

England vs Australia – 290.1 (Draw thanks to the weather)
England vs Ireland – 175.3 (England won)
England vs India – 170.3 (England won)
England vs Pakistan- 267.2 (Pakistan won)
England vs West Indies – 203.3 (England won)

With 90 overs per day, that means matches at Lords are lasting 2 or 3 days at most, with these consistently poor pitches, is it time to strip Lord’s status as a Test centre? 

If every pitch was like this, then there would be no point in playing the longer format.

Yes, you expect it to seam and swing in England, but not like this; the game should at least stretch into the 4th day, if not the 5th, else why are we playing 5 day matches?

I am taking nothing away from seamer’s performance on such pitches; we can look back at batsmen who made 100s on these pitches and appreciate just how remarkable it was.

However, you should not have a pitch which is producing an unplayable delivery darting around corners every second ball.

I understand we want contrasting pitches and conditions around the world and do not want Test cricket to be formulaic; each country needs to have its own identity but we also want Test matches to last 5 days.

There are countries, including India, who produce turning tracks to suit their spinners, but at least the game goes into the 4th day there, like it is happening in Chennai right now.

The ideal scenario is a pitch which offers something for the quick bowlers to start with, flattens out and then spins later in the match, but not one where batsmen have no chance against the ball moving all over the place at 150 Kph for days.

I understand that groundsmen do get it wrong sometimes and this is not a personal accusation against any team or individual, but to be consistently wrong for years?.

Some people may also think it is a case of sour grapes because India lost at Lords very easily last time around but my opinion has nothing to do with that. I will criticise “2 days Test pitches” in India just as harshly.

When you see something that is not right or in the game’s interest then you have to speak up, it is important for Tests to have the potential to go on for five days, there is so much at stake.

There is a responsibility to preserve Test cricket as it is finding itself under threat from other sources.

It may be that the best side does win this match and series. However Lord’s pitch is not suitable for Test cricket and I would strongly take issue with anyone who says that it is.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has to be strong enough to take action if Test pitches are not of a suitable quality.

That applies in India, Australia or anywhere in the world.

With the finals of the World Test Championship – which is supposed to be the whole reason for Test cricket these days – taking place at Lord’s in the summer, the ICC should seriously think about the suitability of Lord’s as the venue.

Just as they have with slow over-rates, there should be a penalty system in place, and consistently poor pitches, like at Lord’s, should result in them losing their status as a Test venue.

*Of course you will never read such an article from a “serious” cricket journalist, you will only read this- this.

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Sandeep Kadian
Sports, Satire, Politics, Golgappa.

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