BCCI Hits Back After Being Accused Of ‘Pitch Switch’ For India vs New Zealand Semifinal Without Permission

The BCCI has denied allegations of defying rules and changing pitches to suit Team India in the ongoing ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. Ahead of the highly-anticipated semifinal clash between India and New Zealand, a huge controversy has taken center stage.

The first semifinal of the ongoing World Cup is scheduled to be played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. British news outlet The Daily Mail has reported that the BCCI has changed the pitch for the upcoming semifinal without the permission of the International Cricket Council (ICC). The report has also stated that India would do the same if they qualify for the final too.

According to the rules, the pitches for an ICC event are prepared under the supervision of the governing body’s consultant who agrees in advance with the home board which of the numbered strips on the square will be used for each game. The BCCI, however, has been accused of flouting the rules and not consulting ICC consultant Andy Atkinson during the ongoing World Cup.

BCCI responds to pitch-switch charges:

The BCCI and the ICC had previously agreed that the semifinal would take place on surface No 7 which is a fresh pitch. However, the Indian cricket board has reportedly ignored the agreement and has decided to conduct the game on pitch No 6 which has already been used twice in the course of the competition.

With the heat firmly on the BCCI, the board has responded, denying any wrongdoings. The news outlet quoted a BCCI spokesperson as saying:

“The ICC independent pitch consultant works with the host and venues on their proposed pitch allocations and this process is ongoing throughout an event of this length and nature.”

Before being accused of changing the pitch, the India team-management was also accused of instructing the curators to shave off most of the grass on the pitch at the Wankhede Stadium. According to The Indian Express, the Indian team had informed the Wankhede curator about their preference after the game against the Netherlands in Bengaluru.

“The BCCI local curators have formed a local organizing group to look after pitches across the country during the World Cup. The International Cricket Council (ICC) also sent its own experts to various venues for each game,” the Indian Express reported.

“It won’t be a turner but the team had asked for a slow pitch. It was the main reason we shaved off the grass,” a source said.

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