India could switch grounds again if they reach Sunday’s final in Ahmedabad, claims Daily Mail Sport
Recent reports have surfaced accusing the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) of changing the venues for the 2023 World Cup semi-final and the Pakistan-India match — which is against International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations.
According to a report published in Daily Mail SportIndia could change the field again if they reach Sunday’s final in Ahmedabad.
The decision to change the pitch was taken to help India’s spinners during the knockout match.
The ground preparation at ICC events is overseen by the governing body’s adviser, Andy Atkinson, who agrees in advance with the host which of the numbered lanes in the square will be used for each match.
However, the agreement was not kept as the tournament reaches its decisive phase.
A completely fresh surface was to be used for today’s semi-final, but a WhatsApp message circulated on Tuesday to BCCI and ICC officials confirmed that pitch No 6, where England, South Africa, India and Sri Lanka have already played matches, it will be used. Atkinson was told the pitch could not be used due to an “unspecified problem”.
There are also question marks over the pitch’s preparation for the final, which prompted Atkinson to fly to Ahmedabad last Friday after being disappointed with the way the matter was being handled.
It was also revealed that the venue for the all-important World Cup clash between Pakistan and India has also been changed.
“It emerged that while the opening game of the tournament, between England and New Zealand, had been played at the pre-agreed No 6 pitch, none of the next three matches had been scheduled, with Atkinson claiming in an email to his bosses that the changes were made “without proper notice or warning,” the report added.
“The matter was complicated by the fact that the ICC’s senior director of events told him that the India vs Pakistan match there on October 14 took place at pitch No 7, as per the schedule, when it actually took place at the pitch. Number 5.
“Atkinson’s recommendation is that the final should also be played on pitch No 5, which has only been used once, although he learned last week that pitch No 6 – which has been used twice – could get the nod, bringing India’s spinners back into the game.”
The BCCI said the pitch changes were made by the Gujarat Cricket Association. However, the GCA claimed that they were instructed by the BCCI after receiving information from the Indian team management.
“As a result of these actions, we have to assume that this will be the first ICC CWC [cricket World Cup] final to have a pitch specially selected and prepared on their terms at the request of the team management and/or the home country’s board hierarchy,” Atkinson said in an email.
“Or shall it be chosen or prepared without favoritism to either side playing the match in the ordinary way, and doubtless because it is the ordinary pitch for the occasion?” he added.
“The ICC’s independent consultant is working with the host and venues on the proposed pitch allocations and this process is ongoing in an event of this duration and nature,” a BCCI spokesperson said.
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