Although it may be the sport’s off-season in New Zealand, the pitch at Hamilton’s Seddon Park has been rated as the most consistent in the last 25 years of Test cricket by a statistics columnist with the influential cricket website espncricinfo.com.
Seddon Park Turf Manager Karl Johnson says complex mathematics form the basis for analysis by Ananthan Narayanan on the website, and one aspect is clear – the Seddon Park pitch is very consistent throughout a five-day Test, making for an even contest between bat and ball.
Mr Narayanan’s recent column assesses the quality of Test cricket pitches based on several factors, to determine what he terms the Pitch Quality Index (PQI).
A low PQI score (for example, in the early 40s) indicates a bowler-friendly pitch, while a high score PQI (for example, the late 60s) indicates a pitch where batsmen find it easier to score runs.
Hamilton’s Seddon Park provided the most consistent Test match pitch – based on the PQI measure – of the last 25 years, with a PQI score of 48. His analysis covered more than 2530 Test matches since 1877.
The detailed number-crunching also revealed 72% of Test matches at Seddon Park played during the last 25 years ended with a victory. Since 2010, nine of the 10 Test matches played at Seddon Park have concluded with a result – six of those wins for New Zealand.
“Espncricinfo.com employs some of the cricket world’s leading writers and analysts and is the ‘go-to’ site for the game’s global fanbase,” Mr Johnson says.
“For us to be recognised for our playing surface shows the work we do is delivering a world-class pitch for the game’s best players.
“And for fans of the traditional five-day game, that means games often go the full distance and result in good competitive cricket with bowlers and batsmen given equal opportunity to excel.”
NZC Head of Turf Management Ian Mckendry was delighted with the recognition.
“I think it accurately reflects the standard of New Zealand’s grounds and ground staff over the past couple of decades,” he says.
“As an organisation we’ve made a priority of producing the best possible surfaces and outfields for domestic and international cricket, and it’s great to see those efforts recognised in this research. Seddon Park is usually a very fair pitch for both teams and offers an excellent balance between bat and ball.”