The legendary Sunil Gavaskar dismissed conspiracy theories around the pitch for the World Cup semi-final between India and New Zealand, asking “morons” to shut up and stop taking potshots at the hosts.
India made it to the 2023 World Cup final with a 70-run victory over New Zealand at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Hours before India’s highly anticipated semi-final, reports emerged that the Indian cricket team management sought a “slow pitch” for the game.
According to a report, a fresh pitch was originally planned for the first semi-final but later an “used” surface was used to assist the home team’s spinners, leading to pitch alteration.
Interestingly, it was pacer Mohammed Shami who claimed a spectacular seven-wicket haul, as India dismissed New Zealand for 327 in 48.1 overs to reach their first World Cup final in 12 years.
“All those morons who have been saying about pitch change, I hope they just shut up, stop taking potshots at India. Stop talking about pitch change. It was for both teams,” Gavaskar told the broadcasters after the match.
The report also claimed that if India make the final in Ahmedabad, a slow pitch is expected at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera.
“For God’s sake the second semi-final hasn’t been played and they are talking about changing pitch in Ahmedabad,” Gavaskar added.
The International Cricket Council later clarified that the independent pitch consultant, Andy Atkinson, was taken into confidence before the change of surface.
“Changes to planned pitch rotations are common towards the end of an event of this length, and have already happened a couple of times.
“This change was made on the recommendation of the venue curator in conjunction with our host,” read a statement from the ICC.
The ICC said Atkinson, its independent pitch consultant, was aware of the change.
“The ICC independent pitch consultant was apprised of the change and has no reason to believe the pitch won’t play well.”
As per the ICC’s ‘playing conditions’ for the World Cup, the host association is “responsible for the selection and preparation of the pitch” and there is no requirement that a knockout match must be played on fresh pitches.
Australia captain Pat Cummins also did not read too much into the pitch episode.
However, former England skipper Michael Vaughan had said that a fresh pitch should be used for the semi-final.
“A World Cup semi should be played on a fresh pitch .. It’s as simple as that,” Vaughan had posted on X, formerly Twitter.
- World Cup 2023
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