India beat New Zealand to reach Cricket World Cup 2023 final© AFP
The Cricket World Cup 2023 semi-final between India and New Zealand was mired in controversy after several reports suggested that the hosts have changed the pitch at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai to help their spinners. The reports said that although a new tire 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 batsman Sunil Gavaskar shuddered at the rumors and rejected such suggestions.
“All those idiots who were talking about the pitch changing. Just stop. Stop taking potshots at Indian cricket. People have said many things to attract eyeballs or whatever. It’s all nonsense. The pitch was there and though it was changed , it was there before the toss for both teams. It was not changed in the middle of the innings. It was not changed after the toss was finished. If you are a good enough team, you play on that pitch and you win. India has 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 the pitch being changed in Ahmedabad. Nonsense,” Gavaskar said on Star Sports.
Earlier, the International Cricket Council (ICC) issued a statement on the entire incident.
“Changes to planned pitch rotations are common towards the end of an event of this length, and have already happened a few times.
“This change was made on the recommendation of the venue curator in collaboration 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’s independent pitch consultant was informed of the change and has no reason to believe that the pitch will not play well,” the ICC said.
According to the ICC playing conditions for the World Cup, 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 fresh pitches.
(With PTI inputs)
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