Australian cricket is making headlines for all the wrong reasons after the BBL match between Melbourne Renegades and the Perth Scorchers was abandoned on Sunday night due to the state of the pitch. Water had seeped under the covers after rain hit GMHBA Stadium before the game, and the pitch was still wet when played was due to start on Sunday.
Despite concerns about player safety, umpires decided to allow play to start to assess what the pitch was doing. Unfortunately they made the decision to abandon the game after just 6.5 overs after a number of deliveries ballooned off the pitch and a number of batters were hit.
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"We wanted to give play every chance. It's why we started to play," umpire Ben Treloar said on the Fox Sports broadcast. "After the first few overs, we were quite hopeful (of the game being completed) but that last ball to (Josh) Inglis, that was enough for us. That was the one that put us in this position. The safety of the players is paramount."
Renegades captain Nic Maddinson said the pitch was still "absolutely drenched" at the coin toss. "It was pretty obvious when the covers came off before the toss that it was quite wet," he said. "Player safety is the highest priority and I thought the decision probably could've been made a little bit sooner, but in the end it was right they made the call they did."
In commentary for Channel 7, Ricky Ponting was gobsmacked when a ball flew past Inglis' bat off a regulation length. "I'm going to say it - I think that's a bit ridiculous," he said.
"We started this game hoping that the wicket was going to play better than we thought and better than it looked, but that one there is ... if that's straight where is it going to go? Straight up under your grill."
Big Bash match between Melbourne Renegades vs Perth Scorcher has been suspended due to "unsafe pitch".pic.twitter.com/skeXVbGeWn
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) December 10, 2023
Michael Vaughan lashes out over BBL pitch dramas
It was the second top-level Aussie match to be abandoned due to the pitch in the space of 48 hours. The Prime Minister's XI game against Pakistan at Manuka Oval had to be called off one day early after a freak storm blew the covers off the pitch overnight and it turned to mud.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan said there are too many instances of similar things happening that shouldn't occur at top level cricket. “I just get frustrated with cricket. Cricket has a habit of these scenarios,” he said on Fox Cricket.
“I’m pretty sure they knew it was going to rain all day yesterday, can’t you get extra covers in? I saw it in a Test match in the UK at Old Trafford, I saw it last year at the SCG when there wasn’t enough covering ... too much time taken out of the game.
“We always just think ‘oh it’s unfortunate’, but seriously you can’t get enough covers to cover an area of turf and get more covers in to make sure today’s game goes ahead. I just find sometimes in cricket we make too many excuses for things that should not happen. That shouldn’t be the case that a game gets abandoned because water got on the pitch.”
Perth Scorchers coach Adam Voges said he was just happy none of the players were injured. "They still copped a few in the stomach but we're just thankful no one's been seriously injured out of this," he said.
"The umpires calling it off when they did was the right call. We were just waiting for something bad to happen tonight and credit to them for forecasting that."
Cricket Australia released a statement saying the Renegades and Scorchers would both receive one point due to the 'no result'. Fans who attended the game were also offered a full refund despite initial concerns that the six overs had resulted in an official game. Nevertheless, fans and commentators were up in arms on social media, with the shambolic scenes making waves around the rest of the cricket world as well.
There has to be better technology to keep water off the wicket rather than a plastic cover. Business is too big for this to happen. This will sting the Renegades’s and Geelong. But this could happen all thru the world. Cricket needs to adapt. #BBL13
— Adam Crosthwaite (@AJCrosthwaite) December 10, 2023
Pathetic! How does a first class pitch get wet?? Amateur hour!
— Peter Whitten (@peterjwhitten) December 10, 2023
They paid to watch the match not to read your formal tweet, return their funds for the garbage you returned for their pay
— Scoop Shot (@Scoopshott) December 10, 2023
The BBL doing BBL things in Geelong. Embarrassing scenes
— Oliver Caffrey (@ollycaffrey) December 10, 2023
What a joke this BBL is how can u let water under the covers in this day and age. Hope they don't give another game to Geelong totally unacceptable and unprofessional
— Russell Milgate (@013c4d49d33549d) December 10, 2023
What a great start to this bbl season. Absolute joke https://t.co/KghuoKKkdg
— 🎄~Mikala~🎄 (@mikala_mc) December 10, 2023
— BlaikeCamo (@AndersonBlaike) December 10, 2023
Disgrace to cricket. This shud have been taken care before the match started
— Rushabh Patwa (@dodo_rp301985) December 10, 2023
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