SCG rules out drop in pitch

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The chairman of the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust has declared that the historic ground will never follow in the footsteps of Adelaide and resort to drop-in pitches to placate the AFL.

Adelaide Oval’s transformation to a stadium via a $535 million redevelopment has been a key talking point ahead of the second Ashes Test, starting on Thursday.

The ground’s curator, Damian Hough, insists the surface will be close to what has been produced in previous summers despite the drop-in wicket, which has been introduced to accommodate the use of the venue by AFL clubs Adelaide and Port Adelaide from next year.

But despite subtle requests for the SCG to go down the same route, there is staunch opposition to the policy being adopted in Sydney.

”Certainly on my watch they know it’s not going to happen,” SCG Trust chairman Rodney Cavalier said.

”It was never more than a polite inquiry, but I made it clear way back when Adelaide declared that it would be going to a drop-in wicket, that even if the Sydney Cricket Ground was the last cricket ground in the world that had a traditional wicket, it would remain the last cricket ground in the world.

”It would be a unanimous feeling from the members, a unanimous feeling from the world of cricket and the deep abiding view of the trustees that this is the way it is, and this is the way it shall be. It’s not a matter for discussion.”

The SCG became one of only three Test venues to stage 100 matches in 2012, and will host its 102nd Test in January. The first Test played there was in February 1882 between Australia and England.

Cavalier is adamant the SCG’s time-honoured attributes cannot be tinkered with for the sake of appeasing the Sydney Swans, who play the majority of their home games at the venue.

”It certainly wouldn’t maintain its characteristics,’‘ he said. ‘‘I’m not impressed by any of the arguments that says the science of the drop-in gets anywhere near as good as a traditional wicket.

”The Swans deal with it. Australian rules is what it is because it’s played on an oval that they use for cricket grounds.”

The AFL has made little secret of its preference for the grounds it shares with cricket to have drop-in pitches, as they make for better and less slippery surfaces for the football codes.

The AFL has lobbied unsuccessfully for the change at the Gabba.

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