The spotlight is on Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium as India and New Zealand lock horns in the first semi-final of the 2023 World Cup. However, even before the first delivery, concerns arise about changes to the pitch overnight.
Reports suggest that the Indian team management, post their match against the Netherlands in Bengaluru, urged the Wankhede pitch curator to transform it into a slow track. The Indian administration specifically instructed the removal of grass from the pitch.
Mumbai Cricket Association officials confirm receiving a message from Team India even before their arrival in Mumbai, emphasizing the preparation of a slow pitch. Typically, home teams tailor pitches to their advantage, but the World Cup, being an ICC tournament, introduces a different dynamic. The ICC has its own pitch curator for the event, raising questions about whether they are aware of these alterations.
The move to slow down the Wankhede pitch has sparked debates regarding its permissibility. With the grass removed, the extent of this change remains uncertain. The crucial question lingers: is the ICC informed about and approved of these modifications?
Rumors circulate that ahead of the World Cup, Team India had expressed a preference for playing on slower pitches, leveraging their success record on home turfs with a slower pace. Upon arriving in Mumbai, Team India’s head coach, Rahul Dravid, reportedly inspected the pitch personally. Additionally, after their practice session, the team requested the curator to apply an anti-dew chemical on the pitch.
The anticipation builds as the cricketing world watches not only the players but also the evolving dynamics of the Wankhede pitch in this high-stakes ICC tournament.
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