Edgbaston pitch will assist spinners: Ashley Giles

Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar during a practice session ahead of the third Test against England at Edgbaston Getty Images

London: Aug 8, 2011

The Edgbaston track for the third cricket Test between India and England will assist spinners and offer early reverse swing because of its new sand-based outfield which has made the pitches drier, England selector Ashley Giles said.

Giles said Edgbaston, known for its convetional swing, has changed considerably over the last one year because of a new four-storey stand that came up at the venue recently.

“The ball has always swung at Edgbaston, the difference this year is that the wind swirls around more inside the bowl than it did because the prevailing wind comes from the direction of the new stand,” said Giles, who is also Warwickshire’s director of cricket.

“The ball might start to reverse earlier now than in the past as the ground is very dry and abrasive due to the outfield. I think the pitches will generally spin more until we can get the water levels right. Some have turned this year, others haven’t,” he was quoted as saying in The Daily Telegraph.

Steve Rouse, Edgbaston’s head groundsman, said that he was forced to increase the watering of the ground, specially in the square region, due to the dry nature of the outfield.

“If it doesn’t rain we are watering the outfield every night of the week. The sprinklers go on at 6pm, 9pm, midnight, 3am and 6am right the way through,” he said.

“Huge amounts of water are going on there and on the square. Because of the drainage system the moisture gets sucked away from the square and it dries out so much quicker. The old outfield used to retain the moisture in the square more. But it’s something that you have to learn to manage. I’ve spoken to Mick Hunt, the groundsman at Lord’s, and he’s had to double the amount of water he’s had to put on his square because of the slope there and his new outfield,” Rouse said.

“It’s like being at the seaside when the tide comes in and it goes straight through the sand.”