MCG Test pitch ready for battle
Dec 23, 2010
The MCG pitch for Sunday's Boxing Day Test promises to be a good battle between bat and ball, curator Cameron Hodgkins told a media conference at the MCG today.
Speaking to a packed media contingent in the Bill Lawry Cricket Centre, Hodgkins was confident that neither team should be too concerned about the result of the toss on Boxing Day.
“I expect the pitch to generally get better to bat on as the match wears on," Hodgkins said. "When Victoria play here they usually bowl first, but I think it will be one of those tosses where it really doesn’t matter.”
The 38-year-old, who has presided over pitches at Lord's and Bellerive Oval in Hobart, was unconcerned about suggestions he had chosen a new pitch in recent days in order to suit the home side, confiring that the decision to change pitches was made before the Perth Test.
"I haven’t been annoyed, because I haven’t taken it seriously," Hodgkins said of the suggestions. "A few people would like to believe that was the situation, but the last time I spoke to someone from Cricket Australia was in the middle of winter."
"It's entirely a personal thing and it was something I did two weeks ago, so it wasn't on the spur of anything that happened in the last week or so. I can understand where the talk has come from. But from my perspective, for someone who likes to keep a low profile, it’s been funny reading.”
Comparisons between the MCG and last week's pitch at WACA, he said, were fanciful.
“I would think on the WACA’s slowest day it would be a faster pitch than our quickest day," said Hodgkins.
"We're quite slow on the first day normally and it probably causes the most difficulty for batsmen who want to get on with it, so patience is normally a fairly key ingredient here. If you don't have that then you can be four or five down early on and the game over."
Although he refused to be drawn on whether Australia should select a spinner. Hodgkins had this to say:
“What I will say is that in recent years the most successful teams have had variety in their attack.”
The weather forecast for Boxing Day is 21 degrees with only very light rain, but the rest of the Test should be played in fine, if slightly cool, conditions.
Melbourne weather forecast
A crowd of 85,000-90,000 is expected on the opening day.