Top 10 Most Dangerous Cricket Pitches
Cricket, as they say, is a game of chance. A couple of sixes can suddenly breathe life in an otherwise dull game and can easily change the outcome at the end. Cricket has its dull moments in test matches as well as its most fast paced nerve wreaking battles in the T20 matches. Regardless of its thrills and fun moments, we should never forget that cricket, or any other professional sport for that matter, is a dangerous game if the proper safety kit is not being worn. It’s quite impossible to hurt yourself during a snooker match but cricket is a totally different ballgame. A fast bowler can hurl a lighting quick Yorker and the batsman has less than a second to judge the line and length of the delivery and to choose his shot. A beautifully timed shot can give him a boundary or a couple of runs. Misjudging the ball, however, might result in a broken toe! Although the batsmen are covered from head to toe with protective gear, accidents do happen. One of the big factors is a dangerous pitch. A pitch with uneven bounce or an odd behaving pitch can be quite dangerous for the batting side as the batsman cannot judge where the ball might come. Following is the list of the top 10 most dangerous Cricket Pitches we have seen as of yet.
10. P.Saravanamuttu Stadium, Colombo
India played a warm up match against the Sri Lankan board XI in the P.Saravanamuttu Stadium (also known as the Colombo Oval) before the actual series back in 2001. The first two days were pretty normal and the Sri Lankan Board XI managed to get 326 runs on the board before being bowled out. However, on the third day, the bounce became quite odd and the ball rose almost to the shoulder level even from good length! The match was then called off just after 0.2 overs of the third day and the umpires stated that the P.Saravanamuttu Stadium pitch was not fit for play and was dangerous.
9. WACA, Perth
The WACA (Western Australian Cricket Association) Pitch in Perth is placed 9th in the top 10 most dangerous Cricket Pitches list. The WACA stadium hosted the fifth match of the Frank Worrell Trophy series between the West Indies and Australia in 1997. Although it was quite notorious for its bouncy pitch even back then, the bounce during this particular match went haywire. Sometimes the ball decided to stay low and hit the stump inches from the ground and at other times the ball got to head level from almost full length! It was later revamped in 2002 and is now a regular venue for cricket matches.
8. Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai
The Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai no longer hosts international cricket matches since 2009. The pitch of the Brabourne Stadium was notorious of being so cracked that people though it would fall apart! The ICC Champions Trophy 2006 had many games scheduled here including the final test match. The pitched turned out to be a nightmare for the batsmen and a delight for the bowlers. Jerome Taylor (West Indies) even got a hattrick here! The ground staff finally came to the rescue (who were to be blamed in the first place!) and patched up the pitch with chemicals so that normal play could actually be held there.
7. National Stadium, Karachi
Although the ball was not quite rolling on the pitch, it was something quite similar to it. Playing on the National Stadium pitch in Karachi was almost like playing beach cricket! The West Indies were touring Pakistan back in 2006 and came to National Stadium Karachi for the third and final test match. 16 wickets fell on the first two days showing how impossible it really was to play on pitches like these! Pakistan, however, came out on the top and won the test match along with the series.
6. Galle Pitch, Sri Lanka
The Galle pitch is one of the favorite pitches of the Sri Lankan team because of its spin. However, the one prepared for the test match between Sri Lanka and touring Australia will go down as one of the worst ones in history. Placed 6th in the top 10 most dangerous Cricket Pitches list, ICC even considered posing a fine on it! The test match lasted just 3 days as the Australian spin attack simply ripped through the offense. It was here in this Galle pitch that the Australian captain Ricky Ponting got his 100th test match min.
5. Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi
The Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in Delhi sported such an unplayable pitch back in 2009 during the 5th match of the ongoing ODI series between India and Sri Lanka that the match was abandoned! The Feroz Shah Kotla pitch simply decided to act strange and batsmen began to get hit as the bounce began to vary at will. One delivery came on to the pads and the very next one rose to the shoulder! One ball even flew of the head of the batsman which prompted the captains to have a chat with the umpires which led to the match being abandoned after 24 overs.
4. Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, West Indies
The pitch behavior of the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium during the 2009 test series between West Indies and England was so erratic that play was stopped after 1.4 overs before anyone got hurt! The unusual bounce in certain deliveries and none at others baffled the batsmen and the wicketkeeper as well as the bowler! Even the run up was declared dangerous and the umpire deemed it unfit for usage. This Sir Vivian Richards pitch is placed 4th in the top 10 most dangerous Cricket Pitches list.
3. Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Other than being a World Cup Semi final match in 1996, it is also often remembered as one of the biggest collapse in a batting side in a semi final match. Sri Lanka was then awarded the match when the crowd decided to take over the pitch in Eden Gardens, Kolkata. Incidentally, the same thing happened again in Eden Gardens, Kolkata in 1999 during a test match between Pakistan and India. Coming back to the world cup match, spectators threw bottles and other stuff into the ground and a few also started fires in the stands when it became evident that India will lose.
2. Unknown Pitch
Not much is known about this pitch which ranks as the 2nd most dangerous cricket pitches. A video circulated last year of the last day of a match between two local teams in Australia. The ball was moving so much off the pitch that even swing bowling greats like Wasim Akram or Shoaib Akhtar could never have even dreamed to pull off! The sizes of the cracks on the pitch were so big that a stump could have fit into them! It is a wonder no one got hit in the head or neck. You can watch the video of it here.
1. Sabina Park, Kingston
Even the best of the pitches, if ignored by the ground staff, become a horror to play on. The same happened to the pitch in Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica in 1998. Again, it was the West Indies playing the first test match of the series against England. The freshly prepared pitch looked in a sorry state even before the game began. It quickly became evident that the inconsistent bounce was very dangerous to the batsman and it made the deliveries unplayable. Many batsmen were hit and gave easy catches in the slips and gully trying to protect themselves from the rising deliveries while the board read 9 runs for 3wickets! The pitch in Sabina Park, Kingston is ranked number 1 in the top 10 most dangerous Cricket Pitches list.