MCG curator Matt Page insists last summer’s raft of lifeless decks was an aberration and is optimistic changes made in the off-season will give the 'G a better chance of producing compelling Test and Sheffield Shield cricket for the next decade.
There will be heightened attention on the venue’s wickets this season after all five first-class matches played at the ground last summer ended in draws.
The nadir was the Boxing Day Ashes Test, in which just 24 wickets fell across the five days. So substandard was the wicket, the International Cricket Council put the venue on notice by rating the pitch as “poor”.
Following the completion of the AFL season, and last Saturday’s WWE wrestling event, seven drop-in wickets, down from 10, are being placed into the venue’s square ahead of Victoria’s first home Shield match of the season, against NSW beginning on October 25, one of three Shield fixtures to be held at the ground ahead of this summer’s Boxing Day Test between Australia and India.
In addition to reducing the amount of pitches, done in order to increase wear and tear on the square, several other steps have been taken in order to avoid a repeat of last summer.