There will be more cricket at the SCG.
There will be more cricket at the SCG.

Truce called in SCG turf war

As debate rages behind the scenes over the prospect of a drop-in wicket at the SCG, the iconic ground will host more domestic cricket this summer than at almost any time over the past decade.

Cricket NSW had become almost resigned to the disappointment of heading out to the suburbs to play large chunks of its Sheffield Shield and one-day cricket over recent summers - but the SCG is once again the true home of all cricket in Sydney.

 

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NSW will play four out of its five home Sheffield Shield matches at the SCG either side of the Big Bash window, and will even get a domestic one-day fixture at the SCG in late October.

It leaves two one-dayers at Drummoyne Oval and a Shield match at Bankstown in late February as the only men's domestic cricket matches to take place away from the SCG this summer.

 

NSW cricket can once again call the SCG home. Picture: Phil Hillyard
NSW cricket can once again call the SCG home. Picture: Phil Hillyard

 

It's a major breakthrough for NSW to be able to once again call the SCG home, and they might feel the scheduling proves their point that the ground can suitably host AFL football and cricket without needing to dig up the traditional pitch for a more multipurpose surface.

Cricket NSW are due to make an in-person presentation to the SCG's drop-in wicket committee next month.

Chief executive Lee Germon said he was delighted that Cricket NSW and the SCG were again working tightly together, but played down any link to the drop-in pitch issue that is bubbling away separately in the background.

 

 

"It's encouraging. It's encouraging to have more games at the SCG. I don't necessarily think there's a correlation between the two though," said Germon.

"I think at the moment the SCG Trust is looking to formulate a position on it (drop-ins), get as much information (as they can), and we'll go to talk to the committee in about a month's time as well.

"In the meantime I think they've made this decision on a separate decision-making basis.

"The fact is we're working a lot more closely with the SCG Trust than we have before and I think that's over a number of different levels of the organisation. If you work together on something you have the opportunity to get more positive outcomes."

 

 

The AFL has been pushing for a drop-in pitch to be used at the SCG. Picture: AAP Image/Craig Golding
The AFL has been pushing for a drop-in pitch to be used at the SCG. Picture: AAP Image/Craig Golding

In recent summers, international cricket and Big Bash has been the domain of the SCG, but for various reasons, domestic cricket has been hosted elsewhere.

Germon said the change for this season was a huge boost for aspiring cricketers.

"(Not just because it's) the spiritual home of cricket but also for their own development. It's really important our first-class cricketers get an opportunity and a chance to play on international grounds," he said.

"Otherwise we run the risk of potentially someone making their Test debut for example at the SCG having only played there a limited amount of times, or not at all. If we are serious about becoming the best teams in the world in both Test matches and one dayers we need to get on the SCG. On a number of levels we are really pleased that we're able to get on there so frequently."