Cricket: Marron calls for a pitch check system

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Peter Marron, Lancashire's groundsman, has called for a world- wide cricket pitch monitoring system to prevent a repeat of the Jamaica Test fiasco.

Marron, widely recognised as one of the best of his trade, criticised the clear lack of preparation that had gone into the Sabina Park surface and said: "The ICC [International Cricket Council] must now come up with some guidelines for every Test country. They should be able to instruct a qualified individual, or a number of individuals, to carry out regular inspections of Test pitches in the lead-up to matches. In England we have Harry Brind, who carries out this function on behalf of the England Cricket Board.

"We are the only country that has stringent rules applied to pitch preparation, and, in the Championship, clubs can be docked 25 points if a pitch is substandard.

"I feel for the groundsman in Kingston, as I felt sorry for Steve Rouse at Warwickshire when there was trouble surrounding the Test pitch there in 1995. This is not an easy job, but it's getting harder, and that's why I believe it is time for a monitoring system to be set up and implemented all over the world."

Marron said that the strip he is preparing for July's Old Trafford Test against South Africa will have been turfed, seeded, rolled and cut over a near two-year period. The pitch has been used already, for a Championship fixture last summer.