Cricket fans slam 'absolute joke' after ICC changes rating of Indore pitch

The pitch for the third Test between Australia and India has been upgraded from 'poor' to 'below average'.

Steve Smith and Travis Head, pictured here inspecting the pitch in Indore before the third cricket Test.
Steve Smith and Travis Head inspect the pitch in Indore before the third cricket Test between Australia and India. Image: Getty

The ICC has been torched by cricket fans and commentators over a staggering backdown regarding their rating of the pitch for the third Test between Australia and India. The ICC originally rated the pitch in Indore 'poor', which would have resulted in three demerit points for the venue.

But after an appeal from the Indian cricket board (BCCI), the ICC announced on Monday that they'd upgraded the rating to 'below average'. It means the Indore venue will now only receive one demerit point in a huge reprieve.

'EXTREMELY TOUGH': Michael Clarke rocked by death of 'best mate'

HUGE: Justin Langer detail as Cameron Bancroft pressures David Warner

Venues that accumulate five demerit points over a five-year period are banned from hosting international cricket for a period of 12 months. Three demerit points would have been a huge blow for the venue, with intense scrutiny placed on all the pitches for the four-Test series between Australia and India.

After reviewing footage of the match - which Australia won by nine wickets - the ICC appeal panel found that there was not enough "excessive variable bounce" to warrant the 'poor' rating. The ICC said in a statement: "Instead, the appeal panel concluded that the pitch should be rated as 'below average'. Consequently, one demerit point has been awarded to the venue for the 'below average' rating."

Match referee Chris Broad, who gave the initial rating of 'poor', stated in his original report: “The pitch, which was very dry, did not provide a balance between bat and ball, favouring spinners from the start. The fifth ball of the match broke through the pitch surface and continued to occasionally break the surface providing little or no seam movement and there was excessive and uneven bounce throughout the match.”

The pitch in Indore, pictured here for the third Test between Australia and India.
The pitch for the third Test between Australia and India was initially rated 'poor'. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Controversy erupts over pitch rating for third Test

Aussie greats Mark Waugh and Matthew Hayden were highly critical of the pitch at the time. “The ball going through the top within the first 20 minutes of the Test match. That’s not good enough,” Waugh said on Fox Sports, describing the surface as "not up to Test standard".

Hayden said during commentary: “This is why I’ve got a problem with these conditions. There’s no way in the world that a spin bowler should come on in the sixth over.

“You’ve got to give batters a chance … Day one, day two should be about batting. Forget the result, don’t worry about if Australia win or lose or India win or lose, it shouldn’t be like that in Test match cricket.”

The first three pitches of the series offered plenty of uneven bounce and spin, before curators prepared a lifeless, flat wicket for the fourth match due to the fact India only needed a draw to win the series. India appeared to get spooked by Australia's spinners when their plans to produce spin-friendly pitches backfired on them in the third Test. Nathan Lyon took eight wickets in the second innings as the Aussies fought back to reduce the series margin to 2-1 after they were comprehensively outplayed in the first two matches.

Cricket fans flocked to social media on Monday to slam the ICC for changing their rating. Many pointed out the incredible influence the BCCI seems to wield over the ICC.

Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.