ECB To Test Three Drop-In Pitches For World Cup At London Stadium
The England & Wales Cricket Board is "looking to road-test" its drop-in 2019 Cricket World Cup pitches "as soon as possible amid growing global concern that such surfaces make for dull spectacles," according to Richard Gibson of the London DAILY MAIL. Plans are reportedly being made to "temporarily move three to the London Stadium in an experiment designed to see how they respond to transportation." A drop-in pitch has never been used for int'l cricket in England but the chance to host two matches at the 60,000-capacity ex-Olympic arena next summer -- "potentially a day-nighter on a Friday followed by a day game 36 hours later on a Sunday" -- led to the "purchase, cultivation and storage of three at the ECB's Loughborough academy base." One of the caveats for their use is that the World Cup organizing committee -- comprised of members of the host country's board plus those from the Int'l Cricket Council -- "must be satisfied by the performance quality of the strips." One of the challenges the committee faces is that EPL side West Ham United is a tenant of the ground and that means the pitches "cannot be dropped into the middle before mid-May" (DAILY MAIL, 1/18).