India’s victory over New Zealand in the Cricket World Cup 2023 semifinal was marred by controversy surrounding the alleged pitch change at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Reports claimed that the hosts had altered the pitch to favor their spinners, even though a new surface had been prepared for the match. However, legendary Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar vehemently denied these rumors and criticized those spreading them.
Gavaskar slammed those who were suggesting a pitch change, labeling them as “morons” and urging them to stop making disparaging remarks about Indian cricket. He dismissed the allegations as nonsense and emphasized that the pitch had been there before the toss for both teams. He also pointed out that even if any changes were made, they were not made during the match or after the toss. Gavaskar asserted that if a team is good enough, they should be able to play and win on any pitch, as India did. He expressed frustration at the premature discussions about pitch changes in Ahmedabad before the second semifinal had even taken place.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) addressed the controversy by stating that changes to planned pitch rotations are common towards the end of a tournament of this length. They clarified that the decision to change the pitch was made by the venue curator in collaboration with the host. The ICC assured that their independent pitch consultant, Atkinson, was aware of the change and had no concerns about the pitch’s quality.
The ICC’s Playing Conditions for the World Cup stipulate that the host association is responsible for selecting and preparing the pitch, and there is no requirement for knockout matches to be played on fresh surfaces.
India’s victory over New Zealand secured their place in the Cricket World Cup 2023 final. The incident has sparked debates and discussions about pitch conditions and fairness in the tournament.