A few days ago, ICC consultant Andy Atkinson accused BCCI of switching pitches at the Narendra Modi Stadium without informing the ICC.
Amid the allegation of the BCCI meddling with the pitches to give India an advantage, big news has dropped in regarding the matter. The World Cup Final is expected to be played on a used and slow pitch instead of a fresh one at the Narendra Modi Stadium on November 19. This development goes hand in hand with allegations made by ICC consultant Andy Atkinson, who had earlier accused BCCI of pitch-switching to help the Indian team.
The fascinating thing is that the same pitch as the IND vs PAK match on October 14 will be used for the Cricket World Cup Final as per The Indian Express. To jog one’s memory, the India vs Pakistan match was a one-sided affair that saw the Indian bowling lineup obliterate Pakistan.
Used pitch over a fresh one in the World Cup Final
While it is not uncommon that a used pitch is preferred over a fresh one in an ICC knockout match, its occurrence is uncommon. Last year, the T20 World Cup semifinals, which involved heavyweights India, Pakistan, England, and New Zealand, were also played on used pitches.
However, the circumstances over there and here are a bit different. The tournament, which was happening in Australia, was being organised by the ICC and couldn’t favour the home side (Australia) as they failed to reach the knockout stage.
With the ODI World Cup Final, the situation is different. Not only is the BCCI organising the tournament, but Team India has reached the final summit, therefore giving the home board a vested interest in their success.
Why use a pitch for the World Cup Final?
Unlike a fresh pitch, a used pitch breaks and becomes slower as the match progresses. While a fresh pitch doesn’t guarantee that the surface will play quickly, it doesn’t deteriorate as quickly as a used one.
The reason behind using a used pitch is to bring a spinners into the game. A slow pitch tends to offer grip to spinners, which India has an abundance of in quality and quantity.
The Australian batters who play on fast-paced surfaces will naturally take time to adjust, while the Indian batters and bowlers will thrive on their home conditions. To reduce the home advantage and make the game fair, the ICC generally uses fresh pitches for the knockout stage of tournaments.