The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is facing allegations of violating ICC regulations by altering the pitch for today’s World Cup semi-final in Mumbai between India and New Zealand.
According to the reports, if India makes it to the final in Ahmedabad on Sunday, they could encounter a similar situation as three out of the four group games were played on surfaces different from those specified in the schedule.
According to sources, the choice to alter the pitch has been made to support India’s spinners in the pivotal match. Andy Atkinson, the consultant for the governing body overseeing pitch preparation at ICC events, typically collaborates with the home board to determine which numbered strips on the square will be utilized for each game.
Nevertheless, this agreement was not upheld as the tournament entered its critical phase. The semi-final scheduled for today was originally slated to be played on a new surface.
However, a WhatsApp message circulated among BCCI and ICC officials on Tuesday revealed that pitch No. 6, previously utilized by England, South Africa, India, and Sri Lanka, will be the designated playing field. Atkinson learned that the intended pitch could not be used due to an “unspecified problem.”
There are uncertainties surrounding the preparation of the pitch for the final, leading Atkinson to fly to Ahmedabad last Friday due to frustration with how the matter was being handled. Additionally, it was disclosed that the pitch for the much-anticipated World Cup clash between Pakistan and India underwent alterations.
The report said, “It has transpired that while the tournament’s opening game, between England and New Zealand, had taken place on the pre-agreed pitch No 6, none of the next three matches conformed to the schedule, with Atkinson claiming in an email to his bosses that the changes had been made ‘without proper notice or forewarning.”
Atkinson suggests that the ultimate match should occur on pitch No. 5, having been utilized only once. However, he recently discovered that pitch No 6, utilized twice before, might be selected, once again emphasizing the role of India’s spinners.
The BCCI attributed the modifications to the pitch to the Gujarat Cricket Association, while the GCA asserted that they had followed instructions from the BCCI, influenced by input from the Indian team management.
In an email, Atkinson raised the question of whether this ICC CWC final would mark the first instance of a pitch specifically chosen and prepared at the behest of the team management or home nation board hierarchy.
He pondered whether the pitch selection would adhere to the standard process without favoritism towards either competing side.
A BCCI spokesperson mentioned, “The ICC independent pitch consultant collaborates with the host and venues on their proposed pitch allocations, and this ongoing process continues throughout an event of this length and nature.”