CSA expecting punishment over Wanderers wicket

Mohammed Moosajee (Gallo)
Mohammed Moosajee (Gallo)

Johannesburg - Cricket South Africa (CSA) have accepted that they stand to punished in some way for the problematic Wanderers wicket that has been the centre of attention throughout the third Test against India. 

Things got so bad on Friday that, with 20 minutes left on day three, the umpires removed the players from the field after Dean Elgar had taken a bouncer to the grille from Indian quick Jasprit Bumrah. 

That had been the final straw for Aleem Dar and Ian Gould, who had looked at the wicket several times throughout the day suggesting that they were considering whether or not it was safe to continue.

The controversy that followed was massive, with the future of the Test in serious doubt, and it took a meeting between the captains and match referee Andy Pycroft to decide that play would in fact resume on Saturday. 

If the wicket is deemed 'unfair' by the ICC in the days following the Test, Wanderers faces the very real possibility of losing all of its international fixtures for the next 12 months. 

With the 'Pink ODI' against India on February 10 already sold out, and with Johannesburg also hosting a Test against Australia in March, that is something that CSA will desperately be trying to avoid. 

Either way, Proteas team manager Mohammed Mossajee is expecting some form of backlash from cricket's international authority. 

"There is no doubt that questions are going to be asked about the preparations of the pitch," Moosajee said.

"When we got here on day one it looked like a sporty wicket and from a South Africa perspective all we wanted was a wicket with pace and bounce.

"Obviously the ICC will rate it and there will be some form of repercussion."

Moosajee was also defensive when asked about the bouncer that effectively stopped the game. Many on the sidelines felt that it was a routine short delivery that Elgar simply hadn't reacted to quickly enough, but Moosajee disagreed.

“I’m not sure we were watching the same game. The ball that hit Dean Elgar shot off a good length," he said, before adding that the Proteas wanted to get on the park if conditions were safe.

"Everybody wants to see Test cricket. The match is evenly poised at the moment and it could go either way. It’s two of your best teams playing.

"The issue becomes what is unfit and unsafe and I think when the ball leaps from a length and hits somebody in the face, that’s when the match officials in their opinion feel that it’s unsafe.

"We definitely want to play if the conditions are safe, but that’s for the match officials to decide, not us."

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