MCL-winning coach Peterson expects batting strips in USA for ICC T20 World Cup

Robin Peterson
Robin Peterson (PC: X)

A glut of outlandish batting performances in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is threatening to change T20 benchmarks. Teams have gone past the previous highest total of 263 four times. There have been 35 tallies in excess of 200 in 58 matches and eight above 250. Hundred for no loss in six overs is no longer imaginary. Strikes rates of 200 have ceased to thrill.

Will it be similar at the ICC T20 World Cup? In the USA, to be specific? The teams have an idea what to expect in the West Indies. Little is known about pitches in the newest destination on the ICC map, which is hosting 16 of the 40 group stage matches, including all four involving India. Eight of these are in New York. Among them is India versus Pakistan. Dallas and Lauderhill stage four games each.

Former South Africa international Robin Peterson has seen conditions in the USA. The head coach of champions MI New York, in last year’s inaugural edition of the Major League Cricket (MLC), he thinks the pitches will assist high scores. “Absence of the impact player will make the experience different from the IPL, but these are good batting wickets,” Peterson told RevSportz.

“In the MLC, we had above 200 against us in one match. In the final, we made 180-plus (184/3) with four overs to spare. It could have been 250. The Impact Player rule in IPL encourages teams to just go on (hitting), which won’t be there in the World Cup. The bowlers may also be a bit more involved. But in general, batters should like what they see. The straight boundaries are small,” said the former left-arm spinner, who earned 115 international caps across the three formats from 2002-14.

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Robin Peterson in a press conference during MLC 23
Robin Peterson in a press conference during MLC 23 (PC: MINYCricket/X)

The World Cup matches in New York will be played at a new stadium, on drop-in strips made in Florida. Dallas had a pitch consultant from Adelaide for MLC games and saw totals of 215 and 212. In Lauderhill in 2016, India lost by one run, chasing 245 made by the West Indies. Last year as well, 170 was not a safe total over there. The World Cup pitches are supervised by the ICC’s own experts, who insist on even bounce conducive for stroke-play.

“In MLC, we had totals of 180 or thereabouts. I don’t see why bigger scores cannot be made in the World Cup. It may not be as many as in the IPL, but if some of the batters keep batting the way they are, there will be lots of runs. The way Travis Head is batting, anything can happen. There is Marcus Stoinis also. Australia and West Indies have the power to get really big totals,” said Peterson.

The presence of four spinners in the squad suggests that the Indians are expecting the pitches to assist turn. This could be a plan for the Caribbean islands hosting all 15 matches after the group stage, although India did field three spinners in the XI in two T20Is against the West Indies in Lauderhill last year. Peterson, however, doesn’t see a lot of turn in the USA.

“There is little that the bowlers can do actually, unless you are Jasprit Bumrah. Pace or spin, it’s difficult against this new mindset of the batters on such pitches. A bowler has to use his intelligence, mix up the angles and slower ones, and try putting pressure on the new batters. It will be more in the mind. Like the batters, bowlers also have to think differently,” felt Peterson.

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