WTC final pitch: Southampton curator aims for ‘pace, bounce and carry’

Second Test - England v Pakistan
Cricket - Second Test - England v Pakistan - Ageas Bowl, Southampton, Britain - August 17, 2020 Groundstaff work on the pitch as rain delays the start of play, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Glyn Kirk/Pool via REUTERS - RC2PFI9CWFPI

SOUTHAMPTON: Simon Lee, the head groundsman at Hampshire, has hinted that pitch for the upcoming World Test Championship (WTC) final will have some “pace, bounce and carry.”

India and New Zealand will lock horns in the WTC final, slated to begin on June 18 at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
While Lee admitted that making such a wicket in England could be a hard thing, he’ll try to get some pace in the wicket without “over-rolling it and killing it”.

“For me personally I just want to get something out that has some pace, bounce and carry in the pitch. It can be a hard thing to do in England as the weather doesn’t help us most of the time,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Lee as saying.

“But 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,” he added. Lee wants to ensure the WTC final is not a one-sided affair and there is some class batting or an amazing spell of bowling.

“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 in case they miss something, be that some class batting or an amazing spell of bowling,” said Lee

“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,” he added.

Lee feels the wicket might help spinners too since “pitches dry out very quickly”. “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, which helped it hold together when the pitches were re-laid some 10 years ago, but it can help it spin as well,” he said.

The Indian cricket team landed in Southampton on June 3 and every member of the touring contingent underwent three-day mandatory hard quarantine. At the Hampshire Bowl, the players were tested again before they started training for the WTC final. (ANI)