Match referee’s report on conditions leaves the hospitable PCA red faced
England have conducted themselves remarkably well in their interactions with the media with Kevin Pietersen leading the way. The reassuring thing has been a concerted effort not to complain, but it seems Mohali might just test their patience.
Mohali has been known as the best venue in India, but when it hosted the last Test against Australia, a few problems crept up. The English were unhappy at the choice of Mohali after they specifically requested to play at a “southern venue”, meaning Bangalore.
England's contention was that it would be logistically easier to go from Chennai to Bangalore and fly directly home in time for Christmas. While that problem seems to have been sorted out, there could be others in store.
Chris Broad, whose son Stuart has been ruled fit to play the second Test, was the match referee for the Australia series. Broad Sr made some piquant observations in his end of tour report that could leave the PCA red faced.
"Cockroaches were found in the umpires’ food trolley on the 1st morning of the match and what food was provided was not hot — not a good start!!!!" wrote Broad in his report, which HT has access to. “Cockroaches were again found in the umpires’ food trolley on the 2nd day!! Eventually, the caterers made a better effort on the 3rd day but the selection of food was poor, made worse by the fact that we had requested a couple of westernised dishes before the match started which didn't turn up!"
The westernised dishes that Broad had asked for were fresh boiled vegetables, boneless chicken and plain fish.
The other aspect that exasperated Broad was the delays caused by people moving in front of the sightscreens. "This is the biggest headache in moving the game forward as no sooner do we get the game flowing does somebody gets up and either walks in front of the screens or stands up over the screens when the bowling is from that end," wrote Broad. "No matter what is said to the ground authorities, it seems impossible to stop people moving! I am at my wit's end!!!"
While this problem was not specific to Mohali, it was exacerbated by the sightscreen motor breaking down, causing a “big delay”. What bothered Broad was that there was no option but to wait till the cogs of the motor were released. The absence of an option to manually move the screen meant a delay of seven minutes.
Broad also found fault with the location of the match referee's room while noting that he rejected the first two options as they were “not ideal given that they were in front of the umpire’' change-rooms, were small and had restricted views".
Inderjit Singh Bindra, the boss-man at Mohali, has a reputation as one of the best cricket administrators in the country, and of a gracious host. He will want to make sure that there is no repeat.
Match referee comes down heavily on Indian batsmen
Mohali: The Indian team is rightfully riding a wave of euphoria after their historic win over England at Chennai but they might just curb their enthusiasm when they see that Chris Broad, the match referee has the same views as Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden when it comes to the role they play in slowing down the game.
"Indian batsmen were constantly slow in getting onto the field at the fall of a wicket, therefore affecting the over-rate. No matter how many times I asked them to hurry up, it seemed to go in one ear and out the other without registering," wrote Broad in his official review of the series."
Soon after the Test series against Australia, Ponting (later endorsed Matthew by Hayden) had said that Indian batsmen took inordinately long to face up and that people moving in front of the sightscreen was a problem especially encountered in this part of the world.
Broad's observations seem to back this up. "Not once during the series did we finish a day's play on time at 4.30 pm. On most occasions, the additional half hour was used and we also lost a number of overs from the game that could not be bowled."
Broad draws attention to the bigger picture, explaining how this could affect Test cricket at large at a time when it is struggling to compete with more glamourous forms of the game. "This was a very interesting and fiercely competitive series between two really good teams but I look at the dwindling crowds in these parts and wonder whether the paying public are really happy with seeing captains involved in long discussions with fielders and bowlers, fielders spending an age putting on protective equipment and batsmen taking additional drinks breaks when they rightly expect to see playing action from the teams," wrote Broad, bringing to light a radical solution that Billy Bowden, one of the standing umpires in the current series came up with.
Broad says that one method was "to stop drinks coming onto the field except at the drinks interval or the fall of a wicket and no protective equipment being brought on or taken off during a session so the fielding side have to take onto the field what they require for that session."
While indicating that it was possible to get the game moving at a far better pace, Broad says that "this puts more onus on the umpires to badger players into being ready earlier than they are at present," while observing that this "would improve the intensity of the game and maybe keep the interest of the spectators for longer periods".
Any move to give Test cricket the stature it deserves will be welcomed, as it is silly to expect each match to be as engrossing as Chennai and draw crowds on its own.
Chris broad has always been dodgy against India(ganguly,harbhajan,gambhir) and favourable towards australia ,but this time .
Its always the fault of certain countries for him and other seem saints.
But it seemshe has been hurt by aussies losing the series 2-0 this time.What is he trying to do with this? making excuses for the aussie loss or the slow over rates of ponting?