Ahead of the World Cup semi-final match between India and New Zealand in Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, a ‘Pitch Swap Controversy‘ broke in the cricketing world. Since then, a lot has been broiling on social media. Cricketers and fans alike have taken to social media to debate the same.
In case you’ve missed the whole conversation, here’s everything that’s been going on:
Originally, the epic clash was to take place on a pre-decided unused pitch no. 7 in Mumbai’s stadium. However, some last-minute decision changes led to the match being played on a used pitch, the one that had already hosted two league matches – SA vs ENG and IND vs SL.
Soon after the news went public, many debated the ICC’s decision. It was claimed that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) notoriously facilitated the change to turn the tides in India’s favour and aid their spinners. Many also accused BCCI of pitch-doctoring.
Not sure why the cricket world surprised by the pitch doctoring by India for the semi-final v New Zealand. India tamper pitches in India for every game & many more. India even get favoritism in there away games. India never play an International cricket match without cheating.💰— Daniel Alexander (@daniel86cricket) November 15, 2023
Amid the concerns that the pitch for the World Cup final may be changed unilaterally, Andy Atkinson, ICC’s independent pitch consultant, flew to Ahmedabad, according to a report by The Daily Mail. There, he reportedly learned that the subsequent three matches after the opening match also did not conform to the schedule. He emailed his bosses later expressing the changes were made ‘without proper notice or forewarning’.
In his email, Atkinson also wrote, “As a result of these actions, one must speculate if this 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“, claimed the Daily report.
However, ICC later issued a statement clarifying the same. “This change was made on the recommendation of the venue curator in conjunction with our host. The ICC independent pitch consultant was apprised of the change and has no reason to believe the pitch won’t play well”, read the statement.
The ICC spokesperson also added, “Changes to planned pitch rotations are common towards the end of an event of this length, and has already happened a couple of times”
During the post-match conference, Kane Williamson quashed the controversy stating, “No, I mean, yeah it was a used wicket, but a pretty good surface really, as we saw. I mean, they got plenty out of it in the first half of the match. And conditions, I guess they change as they go under lights and things, and that’s what we’ve seen throughout this competition. That’s fine, that’s what you expect and they played really well…”, reported NDTV
Here’s how the Internet has been reacting to the whole debacle. There are mixed opinions.
"All those morons who have been saying that the pitch has been changed to favour the Indian spinners, I hope they just shut up, stop taking potshots at India just because it helps you to get whatever eyeballs. It is all nonsense". ~ Sunil Gavaskar. pic.twitter.com/Sco3onFpPs— Anshul Saxena (@AskAnshul) November 16, 2023
British and Australian cricket boards unnecessarily outraging over the supposed pitch fixing by BCCI reeks of racism to me. This worldcup has seen the most diverse pitches unlike the previous 2 worldcups in England and Australia respectively where the decks suited the home team .— ` (@FourOverthrows) November 15, 2023
People who spoke about changing the pitch. Hru all ? Did the pitch help the spinners ? Was it micro managed ? Team which plays good cricket is the winner.— Prasanna (@prasannalara) November 15, 2023
India has been a superior team at #WorldCup2023. Why then should Team India look to ‘doctor’ a pitch? Surely the World Cup is supervised by ICC and not BCCI? Why these allegations of “doctoring” the cricket pitch? #Wankhede #Semifinals https://t.co/9WPvsyTHYT— Sagarika Ghose (@sagarikaghose) November 15, 2023
India will be playing the World Cup finals against South Africa or Australia at the Narendra Modi stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday.