Cricket

Another venue in the Perth mould

Old wine, new bottle: The Optus Stadium surface is expected to favour conventional swing bowling.

Old wine, new bottle: The Optus Stadium surface is expected to favour conventional swing bowling.   | Photo Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Fast and bouncy, says curator

Brett Sipthorpe, the curator at the Optus Stadium, has the anxiety of a father awaiting the birth of his first child.

Perth, a city of high-rises, quaint homes and cozy pubs, has an intimidating image when it comes to cricket — it houses a fast pitch at the WACA.

And now its sibling ground, the Optus, set for a Test debut when India and Australia face off on Friday, needs to follow the same path drenched with the sweat of furious fast bowlers and upon which batsmen are supposed to do a nervous tap-dance.

The brief given to Sipthorpe was direct. “We have just been told make it fast and bouncy. We are trying to produce the bounciest pitch we can.”

The heat can be a worry as the surface could bake and crack and the curator added: “It gets really hot in here, it traps that heat in and we won’t get the breeze.”

According to Sipthorpe, swing would be of the conventional kind as the grass cover will not be abrasive on the ball and that would mean lesser scope for the reverse-act.

And when asked about the ‘Freemantle Doctor’ blowing in from across the Swan River, the curator replied: “It comes in and bounces off the back of the stadium, so it actually feels the opposite inside.

“It just swirls, so it’s certainly not the same as what we had across the road (at the WACA). It swung a lot in the Sheffield Shield game, so maybe it actually helps the swing.”

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 11:59:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/another-venue-in-the-perth-mould/article25735913.ece

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