Perth Scorchers coach Adam Voges has expressed his relief at players avoiding serious injuries amid farcical scenes on a dangerous Big Bash League pitch in Geelong.
Sunday’s fixture between the reigning champion Scorchers and Melbourne Renegades was abandoned after just 6.5 overs at GMHBA Stadium.
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Water damage had made the pitch unplayable, with multiple Scorchers batters hit by deliveries before umpires stopped play with the visitors struggling at 2-30.
“They still copped a few in the stomach but we’re just thankful no one’s been seriously injured out of this,” Voges 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.”
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The teams were awarded an even share of the points in a situation Voges said was a “frustrating and disappointing” way for the Scorchers to begin their title defence.
Ground staff had worked feverishly on Sunday in an attempt to dry the pitch after heavy rain crept under the covers and damaged it overnight.
Match officials speak to ground staff during the long delay. Credit: MORGAN HANCOCK/AAPIMAGE
Play began as scheduled despite a visible wet patch towards the southern end, with Renegades captain Nic Maddinson declaring the pitch still “absolutely drenched” at the coin toss.
He sent the Scorchers in to bat on an unpredictable surface but later said the match should never have started.
“It was pretty obvious when the covers came off before the toss that it was quite wet,” Maddinson 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.”
Umpires Simon Lightbody and Ben Treloar had hoped the match could be completed, but said Will Sutherland’s last few deliveries to Inglis made it clear the pitch was unsafe.
“After the first few overs, we were quite hopeful it was going ok but then it just started to go south,” Treloar told Channel 7.
“And that last one, that was enough for us to say it was dangerous.”
Ball tracking of the final three deliveries of the match proved exactly why it was called off. Credit: 7CricketQuinton de Kock could not believe the final ball that flew past Josh Inglis. Credit: 7Cricket
Renegades wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock, who only just flew into Australia and was set to leave the country during the team’s upcoming 10-day break, said he feared a broken finger.
Cricket greats Ricky Ponting slammed the “ridiculous” scenario as soon as the final ball was delivered.
“We started this game hoping that the wicket was going to play better than we thought and better than it looked,” he said on Channel 7.
“But that one there – if that’s straight, where’s this going to go? Straight up under your grille.”
Ponting said the match could have continued had the problematic area not been on a good length for bowlers, noting Will Sutherland would hit the mark five out of the six balls in an over.
“And you just hope that one hasn’t got your forearm or your grille’s name on it,” he said.
Players and fans were left standing around waiting for the game to be abandoned for some time. Credit: MORGAN HANCOCK/AAPIMAGE
Australian star Glenn Maxwell, speaking in commentary for Channel 7, said officials were lucky only one left-handed batter had faced up.
“This over has probably been the most extreme,” he said.
“You can almost see a few of the divots. The other thing, as soon as those harden up it actually becomes worse because you can hit the edge of those and (the ball) goes steeper or lower and makes it very hard to commit to (a shot).”
Aiming to become the first team to win three straight BBL titles, the Scorchers will remain in Melbourne ahead of Wednesday’s encounter with the Stars at the MCG.
The Renegades have an extended break before their clash with the Brisbane Heat on December 21.
– with 7NEWS