The International Cricket Council (ICC)has cleared the air around the controversy regarding the pitch at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai for the semi-final of the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 between India and New Zealand. The all-important clash got underway on Wednesday, November 15.
Before the game, several reports suggested that the pitch was changed for the semi-final to assist the home team in the game against the agreement of the ICC. According to the initial agreement, pitch 7 was supposed to be used for the semi-final. It was an unused wicket. The report added that the pitch was changed to No. 6 without keeping Andy Atkinson, the ICC’s independent pitch consultant, in the loop. This pitch was already used for a couple of games.
The governing body expressed that the change was made on the recommendation made by the venue curator. The ICC Spokesperson said,
“Changes to planned pitch rotations are common towards the end of an event of this length and has already happened a couple of times. This change was made on the recommendation of the venue curator in conjunction with our host.”
“The ICC independent pitch consultant was apprised of the change and has no reason to believe the pitch won’t play well,” the ICC spokesperson said as quoted by Sportstar.
What do the ICC guidelines say about the pitch?
As per the ICC’s Playing Conditions for the World Cup, the ground authority is ‘responsible for the selection and preparation of the pitch’. In the case of the semi-final at Wankhede, The Mumbai Cricket Association is the ground authority. Meanwhile, the Independent pitch consultant works alongside local ground staff.
Talking about semi-final 1, India won the toss and elected to bat first. Skipper Rohit Sharma downplayed the pitch issue when speaking at the toss. He said,
“It looks a good pitch. A little on the slower side but whatever we do, we have to do it well.”