The International Cricket Council (ICC) has addressed the controversy surrounding the pitch swap at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium for the ODI World Cup 2023. English and Australian media accused the Indian cricket board of altering the pitch from a fresh surface to a used one, contradicting the agreement between the ICC’s independent pitch consultant and the BCCI.
However, the governing organization has asserted that the change was made based on a recommendation from the venue curator, and the ICC’s consultant, Andy Atkinson, was informed of the decision.
“Changes to planned pitch rotations are typical towards the conclusion of an event of this magnitude, and have already occurred a few times. This change was suggested by the venue curator in cooperation with our host. The ICC’s independent pitch consultant was informed of the change and has no reason to believe the pitch won’t play well,” an ICC spokesperson stated on Wednesday.
According to the ICC’s Playing Conditions for the World Cup, the ground authority is ‘accountable for the selection and preparation of the pitch’ prior to any match. [In this instance, it was the Mumbai Cricket Association. The ICC also employs an independent pitch consultant who collaborates with local ground staff.
The Daily Mail reported that Atkinson was ‘disappointed’ by changes to pre-agreed plans throughout the World Cup, speculating in a leaked email whether the pitch for the final in Ahmedabad on Sunday ‘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.’
ICC issues clarification on pitch controversy
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The ongoing pitch controversy may have taken center stage ahead of the World Cup semi-finals, but Australia captain Pat Cummins expressed confidence in the ICC on Wednesday, stating that his team has not encountered any issues during the tournament.
“Obviously, ICC has an independent pitch curator who manages that so I’m sure they are all over making sure it’s fair for both teams,” Cummins said ahead of their semi-final against South Africa at Eden Gardens. “So far this tournament that we’ve played on, I’ve not seen any issue,” he added.
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While the ICC has attempted to quell the pitch controversy, the incident has raised questions about the organization’s oversight and the potential for unfair advantages in pitch preparation. The ICC will need to take concrete steps to address these concerns and ensure that the playing field remains level for all teams.