Cricket fans have been left baffled after reports suggested the Indian Cricket Board requested the pitch be prepared to produce a 'slower' wicket for the semi-final clash against New Zealand. India have been dominant in their undefeated run to the semis, where they will face the Black Caps for a place in the final.
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have been outstanding with the bat with India setting up a repeat of the 2019 World Cup semi-final. On Tuesday, Indian captain Sharma was pictured looking at the wicket at Wankhede ahead of the match.
However, outrage has ensued after the Indian Express reported the BCCI had requested the Wankhede pitch be trimmed after their final group stage game in Bengalaru. The report suggests the curator was informed of India's preference heading into the semi-final.
The BCCI has a group of local curators looking after the pitches during the World Cup. The International Cricket Council (ICC) also have independent curators within the mix.
However, the report claims a source said the preference for a slower pitch was passed down. And the news has frustrated cricket fans.
Many supporters have questioned the drama, fuming such a request could be made at an international event. While India are the host nation, the tournament is ICC controlled.
The pre-match outrage only added to the drama heading into the knockout clash, on a pitch that has heavily favoured the team batting first throughout the tournament.
— MO ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@fcbSal) November 14, 2023
India Vs New Zealand likely to be played on a slow pitch. Indian management asked the curators to shave off most of the grass. (Indian Express).
But how can India management dictate curators ? It's an #ICC event.#Worlds2023#Semifinal pic.twitter.com/UuLh8vs8cb
— yk (@ykspeaks1) November 14, 2023
It's Indian Cricket Council
Its not ICC
So they can. They will.
It would be amazing if NZ still pull off and upset win.
Anything less than a win in semi final for India
will be upset at level of 1987 SF or 1996 SF.. 😀 😀
— sachai (@SachaiTruth) November 14, 2023
So India doctoring the pitch in an ICC tournament ?
— HTB (@htb) November 14, 2023
Pitch gonna be slow for everyone except Rohit Sharma.😈🙌
— 𝐇𝐲𝐝𝐫𝐨𝐠𝐞𝐧 𝕏 (@ImHydro45) November 14, 2023
Gift world to India and other teams should leave
— Classic Mojito (@classic_mojito) November 14, 2023
Nothing we haven't seen already.The host nation has always had a say in the pitch preparation,to suit their style of play.Tells u y more host nations have gone on to win the tournament in the last decade.About time ICC takes full control over the preparation of the pitches #CWC23 https://t.co/IMlq5qBMI5
— Anissh (@anissh_19) November 14, 2023
Toss vital in India and New Zealand clash
With a slower pitch and dew expected in Mumbai for the semi-final clash, the toss could become a huge factor. Of the four games played at Wankhede, only one team has won batting second.
The matches have all been landslides with India recently defeating Sri Lanka by 302 runs. The only game won was due to Glenn Maxwell's historic double-century against Afghanistan, which resulted in a record run chase and an unbelievable fight back from the Aussies. Despite this, in his press conference, Sharma claimed the toss was not as important as it is being made out to be.
"I've played a lot of cricket here. These four or five games are not going to tell a lot about what Wankhede is...but I certainly believe the toss is not the factor," he said.
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