Warwickshire fail in appeal over pitch points deduction

Warwickshire's head groundsman Steve Rouse
Groundsman Steve Rouse prepares the Edgbaston wicket before the final day of the game with Worcestershire

Warwickshire have failed in an appeal over the eight points they had docked for the pitch used at Edgbaston earlier this month against Worcestershire.

An England & Wales Cricket Boardexternal-link panel imposed the penalty after ruling that the pitch demonstrated uneven bounce.

The appeal was based on a failure to follow the due ECB process, the umpires having not reported it to Lord's.

But a three-man appeal panel ruled that the deduction stands, as well as ordering the Bears to pay £3,000 costs.

Warwickshire had also argued that no consideration had been given to extenuating circumstances, director of cricket Ashley Giles having suggested that the pitch problem might be linked to the multi-million pound redevelopment Edgbaston is currently undergoing.

But an ECB panel had already been convened to look at the pitch even before Worcestershire batsman Vikram Solanki was taken to hospital after being hit on the head by a delivery from Boyd Rankin.

And Giles' Worcestershire counterpart Steve Rhodes said: "I can safely say that it is probably the worst wicket I have seen in professional cricket in England."

The points deduction means that Warwickshire, who won the match, earned only 15 points to Worcestershire's four - and the Bears' failure to have the penalty overturned means that Lancashire stay top of the County Championship.

Warwickshire have one of the most experienced groundsmen in the country, former Bears pace bowler Steve Rouse, in charge of their pitches.

And Giles is sympathetic to the problems he has had to deal with while Edgbaston has been rebuilt ready for Test match duty on 10 August.

"We want to play on good wickets here," he told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire. "But I have some sympathy for the groundsman because, with everything that has gone on here, with the development, the new drainage, he can't explain why these things are happening.

"We didn't set out to play on a wicket like that but you have to get on with what's in front of you.

"I'm not saying it's a brilliant wicket, because my players wouldn't thank me for that.

"But it's something we don't want to see again - we want to play on better pitches going forward."