Former England captain Michael Vaughan has expressed his frustration following the abandonment of the fourth game of the 2023-24 Big Bash League (BBL) due to an unsafe wet pitch.
The incident happened during the Melbourne Renegades’ opening home game of the season against the Perth Scorchers at GMHBA Stadium. The match officials deemed the pitch dangerous for batters after only 6.5 overs of the first innings.
Severe rain fell in Geelong leading up to the game, causing water leakage through the covers and onto the pitch, which created drastically uneven bounce.
Speaking to the Fox Cricket broadcast, Vaughan felt cricket needed to be more proactive and prevent such happenings.
“I just get frustrated with cricket. Cricket has a habit of these scenarios. I’m pretty sure they knew it was going to rain all day yesterday, can’t you get extra covers in? 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,” said Vaughan.
Vaughan cited other examples from the past of similar occurrences and continued his criticism.
“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. 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. If you get rain that is unexpected I completely understand that. But I’m pretty sure yesterday it was always going to rain all day,” added Vaughan.
Fully aware of the damp conditions, the Renegades skipper Nic Maddinson asked the Scorchers to bat first.
The defending champions crawled to 30/2 in the 6.5 overs possible, with several balls bouncing alarmingly before the call-off.
“The moment we got to the ground we were all a bit suspicious” – Adam Gilchrist
Former Australian wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist has said that the pitch conditions looked suspicious even before the start of the contest.
It was the second consecutive game of the BBL abandoned after incessant rain washed out the entire Adelaide Strikers-Brisbane Heat contest the day before.
“The moment we got to the ground we were all a bit suspicious. There is talk how much do you talk about and do you try ignore it and let the show carry on because of all the contributing factors, the fans, the kids who are here, us as broadcasters and the players. But it was very, very obvious and then Nic Maddinson said it at the toss. We heard him say, “the wicket is drenched and that’s why I am going to bowl,” Gilchrist told Fox Cricket.
Cricket Australia (CA) also released a statement following the abandoned game. It stated that the ground staff worked all day to rectify the situation, and the umpires considered the pitch safe for play to start.
The statement also confirmed that a thorough review of the circumstances will happen, and fans will have their tickets refunded.