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NZ pitches not ideal, admits local expert

Hamilton: Admitting that the pitches in New Zealand, prepared under express directives of New Zealand Cricket to promote pace and bounce, were not ideal, an expert has said that they needed a little fine-tuning to improve their all-round suitability.

New Zealand Turf Culture Institute guru Keith McAuliffe said nearly all the pitches India played on during their month-long tour were new and had a lot of grass because of a new NZC policy to push for more pace, bounce and lateral movement.

“This has been achieved and our pitches are not the slow, low dungers they were in the past,” McAuliffe was quoted as saying by a website. “But you could perhaps argue that fine tuning is now needed to minimise the sideways movement,” he said.

McAuliffe, who was a part of the expert panel which studied the pitches in India and submitted a report to the Board of Control for Cricket in India, said the ideal pitch was still the one which had something for all kinds of bowlers, including spinners, and the batsmen.

“You would not want spinners getting their wickets too easily on pitches that were too thatchy or too powdery. Our turf managers are doing a much better job of renovating their pitches to remove plant material or thatch but it would be in everyone’s interest if pitches did dust up in long duration matches,” he said.

There was also a need to get the surfaces even harder and it would be necessary to look at some of the clays being used. “Clays that are difficult to dry are difficult to harden,” McAuliffe said.

“However, I don’t think pitches are the only things causing the sideways movement,” he said. “Another contributing factor is the amount of movement through the air. (PTI)

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