Ground Weather and Light - Page 10

3.3 The pitch Law 7.2 provides that the umpires are the sole judges of the fitness of the pitch for play and refers to Laws 3.8 and 3.9. Law 3.9 provides that all references to ground include the pitch. It follows that the test of whether the condition of the pitch is dangerous or unreasonable is the same as for the rest of the playing area, ie is there an actual and foreseeable risk to the safety of any player or umpire? Much of the time, a decision that says parts of the pitch pose the risks described above to batsmen, bowlers or fielders will apply with equal validity to the rest of the pitch and the way in which it may play. However, there can be situations when, despite the rest of the playing area being safe and sufficiently dry, the pitch itself is dangerous. For example, if a defect in the covers has allowed a small amount of rain to create damp patches on areas of the pitch, on or short of a length; or if the pitch has not been properly prepared; or if earlier weather conditions, which have not affected the rest of the playing area, have resulted in a seriously problematic pitch. In every case, the umpires must determine whether the pitch poses an actual and foreseeable risk to the safety of any player or umpire, in this case principally the batsmen and the wicket-keeper standing up to or close to the stumps. For example, an unpredictable or steep bounce, or a pitch on which the ball repeatedly goes through the top surface and bounces dangerously. In assessing this, it is important to distinguish this situation from one when the pitch is merely unsatisfactory, ie it allows significant lateral movement, the ball stays low, or the pitch lacks carry. These things may be matters for the umpires’ post-match report but, unless they pose a danger to the batsmen or fielders, they are not reasons to conclude that the pitch is dangerous or unreasonable. It is often impossible to predict how a pitch will play and umpires always need to be vigilant in observing the behaviour of the ball after it pitches, not just at the start of an innings, or when conditions are less than ideal. The occasional unusual bounce does not mean that a pitch should be seen as dangerous but regular and/ or excessive steepness of bounce may lead to this conclusion. 8 92018 ECB Ground Weather and Light.indd 10 15/03/2016 15:58