Heavy freight: Why drop-in pitches can’t be moved interstate – Sydney Morning Herald

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Given each trip is about eight kilometres, you can imagine why relocating them some 3400 kilometres across the Nullarbor has not been considered.

"The time it was on the road, the amount of drying that would happen if it was exposed, you would actually need a week or two to settle it back down to play on it," Optus Stadium curator Brett Sipthorpe said.

"It's not like you could take one to each venue and keep it going. I don't think it's a feasible option, no."

Cricket Australia insists the punishment Hobart Hurricanes wicketkeeper Emily Smith received for innocently uploading her team's batting order onto social media won't be revoked. Smith was banned for 12 months, with nine months suspended, covering the WBBL, WNCL and even grade seasons.

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Australian Cricketers Association president Shane Watson will meet with CA chairman Earl Eddings next week to discuss how the case was handled but nothing is likely to change despite the ACA arguing CA has the power to change its own rules. What is clear is that all parties could have done things better. Smith, for one, should have had legal support in her initial hearing, and been encouraged to launch an appeal.

The ACA and CA agree Smith's actions were not linked to corruption but the punishment has angered many, including Isa Guha, the former England cricketer and now Fox Cricket commentator who said "common sense" should have prevailed.

Guha suggested it had been a case of "targetting someone who might not necessarily fight back".

"I personally didn't think the punishment fit the crime," she said. "But it's a situation that I am glad people are talking about now because that didn't happen a few years ago when a few girls got done for gambling where again it was a tricky circumstance, just the way it was handled, the way the girls were kind of ostracised from the cricket community they weren't able to set foot in the nets, turn up to games, which I just thought was horrendous.

'Bigger issues': Isa Guha has gone to bat for Emily Smith.Credit:Getty

"This has become their life. Cricket is now a viable option for women, so I was gutted to hear she was going to be out for the whole year but it looks like the ACA are providing some good support. The way I see it, Cricket Australia is using it as a deterrent. For me, there are much larger issues going on in match-fixing and gambling, just in world cricket."

The planets were aligned for Mitchell Starc's bid for a hat-trick. He had a pink ball, under lights and the jinx, broadcaster and writer Adam Collins, was nowhere to be seen at Optus Stadium.

Collins, who estimates he has attended 116 Tests and never witnessed a hat-trick, has left the Test circuit for the summer. Alas, for Starc that was not enough to seal the deal, though he does not seem to mind. "It's definitely not a goal that I have to tick off. If it happens, it happens," Starc said.

Kim Hughes has never been afraid to speak his mind, and the former Australian captain has made it clear what he thinks about the possibility of Steve Smith returning to the top role.

Tim Paine remains a series-by-series proposition, and Smith appears his logical successor, despite having served a ban for bringing the game into disrepute in South Africa last year.

"As far as Smith is concerned, he should never captain Australia again," Hughes said at the Lord's Taverners Breakfast during the week.

"Our national side is the most important [team] sport. I hope that he can concentrate on being the best player in the world and then let other people do the other things.

"It would be a mistake [for Smith to captain] even in two or three years' time."

Andrew Wu writes on cricket and AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald

Jon Pierik is cricket writer for The Age. He also covers AFL and has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.

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Heavy freight: Why drop-in pitches can't be moved interstate - Sydney Morning Herald

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