Stuart Fox, the CEO of the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) is confident that MCG curator Matt Page will produce a good pitch for the upcoming Boxing Day Test between Australia and South Africa, starting from December 26.
After 34 wickets fell in six sessions as Australia won by six wickets on an overly seaming pitch at the Gabba, the pitch was given a rating of ‘below average’. The fallout over the pitch at the Gabba now means the spotlight is firmly on the MCG to dish out an even contest for the Boxing Day Test.
“The press is putting more pressure on him than anyone. I’ve told Matt to not even pick up a paper for a read, he’ll do his job and he’s done a great job for the past three or four years.”
“We’ve got no doubts about what we’re about to produce, I think it’ll be a good pitch and we’re not too worried. We certainly don’t listen to what’s going on externally,” said Fox to SEN Breakfast show.
The last time the MCG pitch earned criticism was during the 2017/18 Ashes when it got a poor rating after a dull drawn match took place. Fox admitted the criticism that time was fair, and believes the pitches produced in the last four years at the MCG are proof of the ground staff doing their work well.
“We deserved it, we produced a poor pitch back in 2017. But since then, we’ve spent millions of dollars, got the right people in and in the last few years it’s been fantastic.”
“So, we feel like we’ve done our job and I do get disappointed with some of the commentaries right around Australia. These guys work pretty hard and it’s a very, very fine line these guys walk. It’s a game of inches really between producing a good pitch or a bad pitch, so there’s an art to it.”
With hot weather expected in Melbourne, Fox revealed the pitch is looking really good for the match and that it won’t be altered based on outside influence. “Matt’s our man, he’s been out there and it’s looking really good for the Test. He’s one of the best in the game, he’s produced I think three really good pitches for us in the last three years.”
“We want him to do exactly what he’s been doing and were not going to be influenced by the odd player comment or a journalist having things to say. The proof is in the pudding so bring it on Day 1.”
Asked about the crowd turnout for the MCG, Fox mentioned he would have liked to see a bumper crowd, but the crowd numbers for day one will be a little bit down.
“We’re looking at about 65,000 for Day 1, that’s typically about 5,000-10,000 down on a normal Day 1 at the Boxing Day Test. But across the five days, I’d hope we get around 180,000 people through the gates.”
“It’s a pretty special event, for us it’s the equivalent of putting two Grand Final days in a row across five days. They’ll turn up, our members will turn up, and it’ll be a pretty special few days, particularly Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3, they’re pretty special. The weather is looking good so I’d encourage everyone to get out.”
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)