India beat New Zealand to reach the Cricket World Cup 2023 final© AFP
In the Cricket World Cup 2023 semifinal, there were reports of pitch change controversy, with claims that the hosts altered the pitch at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai to favor their spinners. Despite preparation of a new deck for the match, it was ultimately played on a ‘used surface’. Following India’s win over New Zealand, legendary India batter Sunil Gavaskar dismissed the rumors of pitch manipulation and criticized those raising such allegations.
Gavaskar rebuked those discussing the pitch change, stating that it was unnecessary and that the pitch was there before the toss for both teams. He emphasized that if a team is good enough, they can play on any pitch and emerge victorious. Gavaskar also criticized premature discussions about pitch conditions in Ahmedabad before the second semifinal had even taken place.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) issued a statement addressing the incident, mentioning that changes to planned pitch rotations are common towards the end of a tournament, and this change was made on the recommendation of the venue curator in conjunction with the host. The ICC’s independent pitch consultant was also informed of the change and has no concerns about the pitch’s quality. Additionally, the ICC clarified that the host association is responsible for the selection and preparation of the pitch, and there is no requirement for a knockout match to be played on a fresh pitch as per the ICC’s Playing Conditions for the World Cup.
(With PTI inputs)
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