India beat New Zealand to reach the Cricket World Cup 2023 final© AFP
The Cricket World Cup 2023 semifinal between India and New Zealand was steeped in controversy after several reports suggested that the hosts have changed the pitch at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai in order to assist their spinners. The reports said that although a new deck was prepared for the match, the match was ultimately played on a ‘used surface’. After Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer and Mohammed Shami guided India to the Cricket World Cup 2023 final with a win over New Zealand, legendary India batter Sunil Gavaskar fumed over the rumours and rubbished any such suggestions.
“All the morons who were talking about the pitch change. Just stop. Stop taking potshots at Indian cricket. People have said a lot of things to attract eyeballs or whatever. It is all nonsense. The pitch was there and even if it was changed, it was there before the toss for both the teams. It was not changed in the middle of the innings. It was not changed after the toss was done. If you are a good enough team, you play on that pitch and you win. India has done that. So stop talking about pitches. Already they are talking about Ahmedabad and the second semifinal hasn’t even taken place. They are talking about the pitch being changed in Ahmedabad. Nonsense,” Gavaskar said on Star Sports.
Earlier, the International Cricket Council (ICC) issued a statement regarding the entire incident.
“Changes to planned pitch rotations are common towards the end of an event of this length, and have already happened a couple of times.
“This change was made on the recommendation of the venue curator in conjunction with our host,” the ICC said in a statement.
The ICC also said Atkinson, its independent pitch consultant, was aware of the change.
“The ICC independent pitch consultant was apprised of the change and has no reason to believe the pitch won’t play well,” said the ICC.
As per the ICC’s Playing Conditions for the World Cup, the host association is “responsible for the selection and preparation of the pitch” and there is no requirement that a knockout match must be played on fresh pitches.
(With PTI inputs)
Topics mentioned in this article