The Wankhede pitch has become the subject of contention ahead of India vs. New Zealand’s first semifinal. According to reports, the surface for the match was modified at the last minute by the Indian team management, led by Rahul Dravid, and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). According to the International Cricket Council (ICC), it is neither unusual nor novel.
According to Cricbuzz, Dravid insisted that the semifinal be played on the nearby pitch, which was also used for the England-South Africa and India-Sri Lanka matches, instead of the original plan to play on a brand-new wicket. The ICC informed Cricbuzz on Wednesday that “Changes to planned pitch rotations are common towards the end of an event of this length, and have already happened a couple of times.” “The curator of the venue, working with our host, suggested this modification. The alteration was communicated to the ICC independent pitch specialist, who thinks that the pitch will perform satisfactorily.
Regarding the choice of pitch strips, there are no regulations. “It is expected that venues that are allocated the responsibility of hosting a match will present the best possible pitch and outfield conditions for that match,” according to a source with information.
While the 2019 World Cup semifinals were held on brand-new tracks, both of the semifinals from the T20 World Cup last year were held on previously used surfaces.
Clause 6.3 of the World Cup Playing Conditions states that the “Pitch selection and preparation shall be the responsibility of the Ground Authority.” The Mumbai Cricket Association has the authority in this instance, and its curators will have collaborated well with Andy Atkinson, the ICC’s independent pitch expert.
In a leaked email, Atkinson suggested that Sunday’s final in Ahmedabad “will be the first ever ICC CWC final to have a pitch which has been specifically chosen and prepared to their stipulation at the request of the team management and/or the hierarchy of the home nation board.” The Daily Mail reported that Atkinson was upset about the decision to deviate from the original plan of using a new pitch for this game.
Veteran Indian players who competed in previous World Cups claimed that in international competitions, the hosts usually get their way. It was brought to light in 2019 that two English umpires had been assigned to monitor the semifinal match between India and New Zealand. A former coach for India observed, “It may look neutral but England were in contention for the final and in an ideal scenario the umpires could have been from a different country,” while also acknowledging that some close calls did fail India. “If the pitch was changed, it is still the same for both.”