India caught in Cricket World Cup storm over 'pathetic' move for semi-final

The Indian captain was seen out in the middle during training.

Virat Kohli reacts and Indian captain Rohit Sharma speaks to the umpire.
Rohit Sharma and the Indian board have been reported to have requested a 'slower' pitch for the semi-final clash against New Zealand, which has angered fans. (Getty Images)

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.

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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.

Rohit Sharma looking at the pitch.
Rohit Sharma (pictured left) looking at the pitch ahead of the semi-final at Wankhede Stadium. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

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.

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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