Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Cricket Australia satisfied Geelong’s ‘ridiculous’ Big Bash debacle won’t be repeated

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Cricket Australia is satisfied the “ridiculous” Kardinia Park pitch debacle that resulted in the abandonment of a Big Bash League match last summer won’t be repeated, with the Geelong venue set to host another of the Melbourne Renegades’ home matches this season.

Last December’s clash between the Renegades and Perth Scorchers at Kardinia Park, also known as GMHBA Stadium, was cancelled after 41 deliveries because of a dangerous pitch, with umpires forced to intervene after witnessing the deck’s “tennis ball” bounce.

“I’m going to say it, I think that’s a bit ridiculous,” former Australian captain Ricky Ponting said in commentary.

“If that’s straight, where is it going to go? Straight up under your grill.”

Covers failed to adequately protect the pitch from heavy rain ahead of the match, resulting in the abandonment of Geelong’s only Big Bash contest for the 2023/24 season.

The match was not rescheduled, with competition points shared between the two clubs. The Scorchers ultimately missed qualification for The Qualifier by one point, failing to secure a title three-peat after losing January’s Knockout to the Adelaide Strikers in Perth.

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Play ABANDONED after pitch concerns! | 01:31

After launching a review to determine the cause of the unsafe pitch, CA is confident Kardinia Park, which hosted multiple T20 World Cup matches in 2022, has rectified the problem ahead of the 2024/25 season.

“Geelong’s a really big second home for the Renegades, they’ve got a big fanbase there,” CA’s Head of Big Bash Leagues Alastair Dobson told Fox Cricket this week.

“It’s a great venue that has a long history of elite cricket.

“We’ve worked really closely with the venue, the Renegades and the cricket (operations) department within Cricket Australia to understand the situation last year, but more importantly make sure that the right actions and processes are in place to ensure this year’s event is huge.”

Geelong will host the Renegades’ first home match of the 2024/25 season, with the men in red facing the Hobart Hurricanes on Thursday, December 19.

“We love playing in Geelong,” Melbourne Renegades general manager James Rosengarten said in a statement.

“Our efforts to establish a second home at Kardinia Park, showcase Big Bash cricket and build stronger connection with the grassroots cricket within the area is central to the Renegades’ mission.

“We pushed hard to host our first home game of the new season in Geelong and play in front of our passionate fan base.”

Kardinia Park Stadium Trust chief executive Gerard Griffin continued: “Kardinia Park Stadium Trust looks forward to hosting the Renegades to kick-off their season and make up for the disappointment of last year.”

CA will reveal the full fixture list for the 14th edition of the BBL on Friday.

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