Wanderers may face International ban

[caption id="attachment_62222" align="aligncenter" width="580"]WhatsApp Image 2018-01-26 at 9.06.57 PM Umpires having a look at the wicket of Wanderers. Image Source: File Pic[/caption]

Debasis Sen, Johannesburg: The dreaded 22 yards of the Wanderers Stadium hogged the headlines of the local newspapers. The Bullring, regarded as the coliseum of South African cricket is facing a possible ban from the International Cricket Council. The wicket which offered inconsistent bounce and wild movement from Day 1 turned out to be a concern for the players when Proteas opener Dean Elgar was smashed in the face by a Jasprit Bumrah bouncer late on day three.

The on-field for umpires Aleem Dar and Ian Gould did not waste a moment as they decided that conditions had become too dangerous for the batsmen, and when play was suspended with 20 minutes to go in the day the future of the Test was uncertain.

Eventually, it was decided that play would continue on Saturday morning, but with the International Cricket Council (ICC) set to evaluate the pitch, the Wanderers faces the possibility of serious punishment.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) will now assess a report compiled by match referee Andy Pycroft.

With the ICC having employed a new demerit points system at the beginning of the year, the Wanderers is in hot water.

Five demerit points means that the venue will not be able to host international cricket for 12 months.

If the pitch is deemed to have been 'poor' by the ICC, the Wanderers will be given three demerit points.

But, if it is decided that the pitch was 'unfit' for Test cricket, it will be given five demerit points and the year-long been will be imposed immediately.

The latter situation may be avoided by the fact that the Test match was in fact completed, but with play having been stopped late on Friday because of the conditions it can be argued that, at some point at least, the wicket was dangerous and unfit for Test cricket.

A ban would be catastrophic for the Wanderers and CSA.

The 'Pink Day', an ODI against India on February 10, is sold out already. The venue will also host a T20I against India on February 18 and the fourth Test against Australia on March 30.

Proteas captain Faf Du Plessis, though, is hoping for the best.

"Look I think because we finished the game, I don’t think that will happen," he said of a possible ban.

"I understand the demerit points if the game was called off, or if it was an absolute stinker that lasted two days, then your demerit points would get a bit more.

"So I assume that even if this pitch was rated poorly, you’d still be able to come back here for Test cricket."

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