Sticky wicket for fixers
By Peter Leroy
Around the third day of a Test match I had the pleasure of meeting a former great of the game for Australia. A young spin leg spin bowler was in action and so the topic of spin, bounce and turn in wickets came up.
The sporting legend told me of his first time as the "Pro" for an English county.
The boat arrived at Southampton where he was met by his new employers and taken by train to London. Overnight and then again on the train westward. No names no pack-drill I believe is the term.
Walking out across the ground with his hosts and employers he arrived at the square where he would roll his arm over in a weeks time.
To his surprise he was asked forthrightly, "From which end would you like to bowl?" Now this to the young Australian was indeed an odd enquiry. And so he questioned the question.
The answer was "well we will have the grass removed from the end into which you will bowl."
Yes, I have heard similar stories from many others of how wickets were "adjusted" deliberately for the "home" team.
In these days of modern rules and professionalism, I would hope that such outright "fixing of pitches" is a thing of the past ?
Do players and managers really tell the Groundsman to cut the turf at a certain height or water a field on one side or not water at all ?
Are there really those in the world of sports who continue the legend of pitch fixing ?
Surely not ?