The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced its ratings for the pitches used during the World Cup, with the pitch used in the final between India and Australia receiving an “average” rating. This has sparked further discussion about the strategy behind using a used pitch for the final and the role of pitch preparation in international cricket.
The ICC’s performance ratings for pitches and outfields fall into six categories: Very Good, Good, Average, Below Average, Poor, and Unfit. The final received an “average” rating, while the Wankhede pitch used for the semi-final between India and New Zealand received a “good” rating. Interestingly, all three pitches used for the subsequent T20I series against Australia received a “very good” rating.
There were reports prior to the final that India had deliberately manipulated the pitch to favor their slow bowlers. However, this strategy backfired, as Australia captain Aaron Finch made the shrewd decision to bat first after winning the toss.
Australia then capitalized on the dew factor and chased down the target comfortably. The decision to use a used pitch for the final has been a major talking point. According to reports, senior BCCI officials met with captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid to discuss the issue, raising questions about the wisdom of this decision.
ICC has given an average rating for 5 pitches involving India matches during the World Cup. [TOI]
– India vs Australia final
– India vs South Africa
– India vs England
– India vs Pakistan
– India vs Australia pic.twitter.com/yyFNIN7mv9
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) December 8, 2023
The pitch’s behavior didn’t favor India’s pace bowlers, despite the presence of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami. This has led to further scrutiny of the strategy behind pitch preparation in big tournaments like the World Cup. The ICC’s pitch ratings are designed to provide feedback to host boards and promote improvements in pitch quality for future international matches.
While the “average” rating for the final may not be ideal, it highlights the importance of careful consideration and strategic planning when preparing pitches for such crucial matches. The World Cup final serves as a reminder of the significant impact that pitch conditions can have on the outcome of a match and the need for transparent and well-informed decision-making during pitch preparation.