ICC World Cup 2023 – India-NZ Semi-Final Moves to Used Pitch

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ESPNcricinfo understands that the semi-final was initially supposed to be played on Pitch 7, the central strip of the Wankhede Stadium’s pitch block which is a fresh surface not used in the league stage of the World Cup. The change in pitch allocation represents a late deviation from the original plan devised before the World Cup. According to a source who spoke to ESPNcricinfo, the planned rotation at Wankhede was supposed to be “6-8-6-8-7,” but so far “6-8-6-8” has been used. The ICC’s Playing Conditions for the World Cup stipulate that the “ground authority” is responsible for the selection and preparation of the pitch. The relevant ground authority in this case is the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA). The ICC also has an independent pitch consultant, Andy Atkinson, who works alongside local groundstaff. Atkinson reportedly expressed frustration in a leaked email about changes to pre-agreed plans throughout the World Cup. He questioned whether the pitch for the final in Ahmedabad will be chosen and prepared specifically at the request of the team management and/or the hierarchy of the home nation board. Despite this, there is no ICC requirement stating that knockout fixtures must be played on fresh pitches. The only stipulation in their Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process is that venues should present the best possible pitch and outfield conditions for the match. Previous World Cups have seen a mix of fresh and used pitches for semi-final matches. Both India and New Zealand players inspected the Wankhede pitch before it was covered by groundstaff during India’s training session.

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