The first semi-final of the World Cup 2023 was played between India and New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, but a controversy surfaced ahead of this knockout match. It was claimed by the English media that the pitch was changed at the last moment at the request of the BCCI. On this the ICC and BCCI gave a statement telling the whole truth, while after the match former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar was furious at the rumors linked to the pitch and dismissed any such suggestions.
Gavaskar said on Star Sports, “They are all idiots who were talking about changing the pitch. Stop it. Stop attacking Indian cricket. People have said a lot of other things to get attention. It’s all nonsense. The pitch was the same. And that too if it changes, it was the same pitch for both teams before the toss. No change was made in the middle of the innings. No change was made after the toss. If you are a good team, you play on that pitch and Win. India have done it. So stop talking about pitches. They are already talking about Ahmedabad and the second semi-final hasn’t even happened. They are talking about changing the Ahmedabad pitch. Nonsense.”
Earlier, the International Cricket Council (ICC) had released a statement regarding the entire incident. The ICC said that changing the pitch is normal and has happened before. The change has been made on the recommendation of our host venue curator, ICC said in a statement. The ICC also said its independent pitch consultant Atkinson was aware of the change. The ICC also stated that knockout matches of ICC events are not necessarily played on fresh pitches.