New Delhi. Allegations of last-minute pitch changes at the Wankhede Stadium at the behest of the BCCI ahead of the World Cup 2023 semi-final between India and New Zealand have fueled a fresh controversy. A report has claimed that the Board of Control for Cricket in India i.e. BCCI decided to go with a ‘used pitch’ for the semi-finals when earlier it was played on a ‘fresh pitch’. The opinions of some past and present cricketers have come out in this whole matter.
According to a report in the British newspaper Daily Mail, ICC pitch consultant Andy Atkinson had initially given final approval for the unused pitch to be used for the semi-final at Wankhede but later changed the decision and decided to play the match. The surface used.. The report claims that Atkinson also wrote an e-mail to the ICC on the matter. In response to the report, a BCCI official was also quoted as saying, ‘The ICC’s independent pitch consultant works with the host and venue on their proposed pitch allocation and this process continues throughout the event.’
Meanwhile, the reaction of Sunil Gavaskar, Michael Vaughan and Australian captain Pat Cummins on the pitch change controversy has come to light. Former Indian captain and great opener Sunil Gavaskar said, ‘This pitch is for all teams. In such a situation I don’t think there should be much debate on what this pitch will do or not? Anyway, I believe that the current Indian team is fully capable of facing any kind of surface, you have seen this in the tournament so far. If it’s a dry pitch it’s only likely to happen because it’s raining. ‘Yes, there might be some spin, but Mumbai’s pitches are generally very good for batting, so I don’t think it should be too much of a problem,’ he said.
Former Australia captain Michael Vaughan’s reaction to this matter is different from Gavaskar’s. In his post on X, he wrote, ‘The World Cup semi-final should be held on a new pitch… this is normal.’ On the other hand, Australian captain Pat Cummins has refused to give a direct reaction to this matter. Ahead of the second semi-final against South Africa on Thursday, November 16, Cummins said, ‘Yes, I have seen the report… The ICC has an independent pitch curator who handles it. I’m sure they’re making sure it’s fair to both teams. So far we have not seen any such problem in this tournament. There has been no reaction from New Zealand in this matter yet.
First published: November 15, 2023, 16:17 IST