SA wickets will favour batsmen

CHAMPIONS Trophy bowlers are going to sweat for wickets if the plans of the Wanderers and Centurion Park groundsmen come to fruition.

CHAMPIONS Trophy bowlers are going to sweat for wickets if the plans of the Wanderers and Centurion Park groundsmen come to fruition.

Chris Scott and Hilbert Smit boast more than 60 years' experience between them and said the five pitches set for the two-week tournament from September 22 are run-friendly.

"Spectators and viewers want to see runs so we act accordingly. I have prepared three pitches and they favour the batsmen," said Centurion head groundsman Smit.

Wanderers boasts four "TV" pitches, but wear and tear from the Indian Premier League means Scott can use only two for the mini-World Cup won by Australia when last staged three years ago in India.

Pakistan was chosen to stage the Champions Trophy last year, but security concerns there and worries about wet weather in Sri Lanka led to South Africa becoming belated hosts.

Wanderers and Centurion, being situated in the heart of the highveld, are experiencing dry, warm spring conditions.

Though the 20000-capacity Centurion Park can accommodate 10000 fewer spectators than Wanderers, it will stage most of the top fixtures, including the showdown of fierce rivals India and Pakistan and the October 5 final. - Sapa-AFP

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