Cardiff pitch curator sacked ahead of England-Australia T20I

Cardiff pitch curator sacked ahead of England-Australia T20I
Glamorgan County Cricket Club have axed their chief pitch curator Keith Exton (left) after a match at the Swalec Stadium earlier this month was called off due to a dangerous playing surface.
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Glamorgan County Cricket Club have axed their chief pitch curator Keith Exton after a match at the Swalec Stadium earlier this month was called off due to a dangerous playing surface.

The abandonment came during the one-day clash between Glamorgan and Hampshire on 2nd August with the surface offering uneven bounce and sharp turn, eventually proving dangerous to bat on during the second innings of the match.

Confirming the development, the club released an official statement expressing their gratitude to Exton for his contribution over the years in preparing pitches for domestic and international matches including the Ashes Tests.

"The club would to thank Keith for his role in establishing the SSE SWALEC as a firm fixture in the international cricket calendar and particularly for his preparation of two Ashes Test pitches during his six-year tenure in Cardiff," it read.

Chief Executive Hugh Morris applauded Exton’s dedication to the club throughout his tenure.

"On behalf of Glamorgan County Cricket Club I would like to thank Keith for the contribution he has made to the club and wish him well in his future endeavours."

On a very difficult pitch, Glamorgan struggled to get going as they crawled their way to a meagre 152 for nine from their allotted 50 overs.

The surface got worse during the chase with Hampshire’s Michael Carberry and Jimmy Adams taking blows to the head from normal length deliveries causing the umpires to halt the match.

After a discussion with the captains Jacques Rudolph and James Vince, the two umpires Paul Baldwin and Neil Mallender decided to abandon the game.

A customary internal investigation followed into the incident which has led to Exton leaving his position as the chief curator.

Exton had recently been in charge of the pitch prepared for the first Ashes Test at the venue last month - a match England won in emphatic fashion by a 169-run margin.

Australia’s coach Darren Lehmann had criticized the pitch after the match for the lack of pace and movement off the surface.

The incident on 2nd August is the latest in a growing list of pitch problems faced by Glamorgan in recent years.

This is the second time in successive years that a match has been abandoned in Cardiff with the club being penalized two points for a similar incident last year.

Eight years ago, Glamorgan were docked eight points by the England and Wales Cricket Board for producing an unplayable pitch that saw a first-class match finished inside two days.

The surfaces at the venue will face a strong test on Monday with the club all set to host a double-header.

Australia will take on England in the one-off Twenty20 International before which England Women host Australia Women in the third and final Twenty20 International in the multi-format Women's Ashes series.

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