Pitch penalty facing Warwickshire at Edgbaston

Current on-field events at Edgbaston will be overshadowed by the presence of an ECB pitch panel which will sit at the close of play on the third day of Warwickshire’s County Championship match against Worcestershire to decide whether to impose a points penalty.

Though the ECB did not send a pitch liaison officer to Edgbaston on the first day, David Hughes was present for the entire second day.

The pitch behaved better than it had on the opening day but Hughes still had sufficient concerns about the quality of the surface to report it to Lord’s by lunchtime.

Hughes was joined in late afternoon by a second PLO, Tony Pigott, and those two will comprise the pitch panel along with Chris Wood, the ECB pitches consultant.

Groundsman Steve Rouse, the respective coaches and captains will be interviewed and the panel can also view video footage to determine whether the pitch has passed muster or is sub-standard.

If the pitch is marked poor Warwickshire face an eight points penalty, if it is deemed to be unfit then the sanction is 24 points.

The pitch prepared for last week’s match against Lancashire was criticised by both sides but passed muster with umpires Tim Robinson and Nigel Llong even though there was evidence of variable bounce and sharp turn from an early stage.

The pitch for the Worcestershire match started cracked and there was some disconcerting variable bounce on  the first morning when a delivery from Damien Wright spat from a length, bounced over the head of batsman Varun Chopra, cleared wicketkeeper Ben Scott and went for four byes.

Other length balls scuttled along the ground including one that pinned England batsman Ian Bell lbw.

Warwickshire’s chief executive Colin Povey then poured petrol on the flames by declaring that he was concerned that his batsmen were seeing problems in the pitch where there were none.

The presence of a pitch panel at Edgbaston should have made Povey appreciate that when it comes to commenting on cricket matters, his director of cricket Ashley Giles (54 Test caps) is better qualified to make a measured assessment.

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