Three of the four Men’s World Cup matches at the Wankhede Stadium have seen a team batting first tally 350-plus. And the only time a sub-300 total was witnessed, the chasing team won the game, thanks to Glenn Maxwell’s maverick innings.
With New Zealand yet to play a game at the Wankhede Stadium in this World Cup edition, the 22-yard strip at the Big W will certainly be in focus. It did not come as a surprise then that head coach Rahul Dravid and his two trusted lieutenants – batting coach Vikram Rathour and bowling coach Paras Mhambrey – headed straight to the Wankhede Stadium after the team checked into a south Mumbai hotel.
Dravid, Rathour and Mhambrey took a long and hard look at the pitch while the rest of the squad took it easy. Interestingly, even before New Zealand reached the stadium for a training session, the pitch had been covered. After persisting with the ground authorities for a long time, assistant coach James Foster was allowed to inspect the pitch.
The Hindu understands that the pitch that was used for Australia’s game against Afghanistan will be persisted with for the first semifinal. It may result in a slowish pitch considering the surface has been used for a match only last week.
Lockie Ferguson, the Kiwi pacer, didn’t read too much into the pitch and the conditions.
“A lot of Indian grounds have been high scoring. But that’s just the nature of one-day cricket in this part of the world. But from our point of view, it’s trying to understand what the pitch will be like and try to read what a good score on it is because of course those big overs, 10 runs here, 10 runs there can cost you at the back-end of the innings,” Ferguson said.
“From a bowling point of view we are trying to I guess shut down those big overs, try to understand what we think is a good total on the score. The pitch will be different again, that’s the joy of cricket. We play on a different pitch each time, so it’s hard to read two days out. We have got to adapt as quick as possible come Wednesday.”