Southampton: Head groundsman at Southampton Simon Lee is aiming to produce a pacy and bouncy pitch for the World Test Championship (WTC) final. Simon Lee has also said that there will be some assistance for spinners later on in the game. The final will be played between India and New Zealand from June 18.
“Pitch preparation for this Test is a little simpler as we are a neutral venue. So we are guided by the ICC. However, we all want is a good pitch that offers an even contest between the teams,” Lee was quoted as saying by ‘ESPNcricinfo’. “For me personally I just want to get something out that has some pace, bounce and carry.
“It can be a hard thing to do in England as the weather doesn’t help us most of the time. However, the forecast in the build-up is good with a lot of sun. So we are hopeful that we’ll get some pace and a hard pitch without over-rolling it and killing it,” Lee added.
Both India and New Zealand have high quality pace bowlers. Lee wants them to be in the game at all times.
“Pace just makes red-ball cricket exciting. I’m a cricket fan and I want to produce a pitch where the cricket lovers have to watch every ball. It has to be both class batting and or an amazing spell of bowling,” Lee said.
“A maiden over can be quite exciting if it’s a battle of skill between both bowler and batter. So, yeah, if we can get some pace and bounce in the pitch, but not too one-sided towards seam movement, we’ll be happy,” Lee pointed out.
In the spin department, India have the edge over New Zealand. Both Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are expected to be part of the playing XI. Lee said spinners too would come into play eventually.
“As I said, the forecast is looking okay, the pitches dry out very quickly here as we do have some sand mixed into our cricket loam. However, to get to that point we’ll need the seamers to bowl, some runs scored, and make some rough along the way. The pitch will always get talked about a lot, but you need the players to play their part to make a good game,” the curator said.
“…So if we produce a pitch that allows the players to show their skills at the top level and we have an entertaining game for the fans, we will be more than satisfied,” Lee signed off.