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GCA and ICC in the Hot Seat: Probing the Pitch Controversy at CWC Final

Cricket Pitch Debate, CWC Final Controversy, GCA and ICC, International Cricket, Sports Governance

The much-hyped CWC final ended in India’s defeat. There are many theories for our dismal performance as it shattered billion dreams. Should someone be held responsible for this state of affairs? One of the villains is said to be the Ahmedabad pitch.

There has been much debate about the pitches favoring India and the BCCI switching pitches to suit the home team. Head Coach Rahul Dravid and the rest of the support staff have only added to the drama. Before every game, they have gone to the venue straight from the airport, while the rest of the team members have gone to the hotel.

Two days prior to the final, a dark strip at the Narendra Modi Stadium was on view. Does this mean a sluggish surface, especially in the first innings like it happened in the game against Pakistan? In that game, the ball also kept a touch low, as the dismissal of Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, bowled by Mohammed Siraj, indicated.

Dravid and Rohit were engaged in a long discussion with the curator as soon as the covers came off from the pitch. Bowling coach Paras Mhambrey, fielding coach T. Dilip, and batting coach Vikram Rathod joined in. Dravid was also seen having a long conversation on his phone after inspecting the surface.

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Rohit then requested Dilip to give him a few drills for low catches to stimulate slip catching against spin. Is that a clue? The Indian skipper even had a long conversation with former batting coach Sanjay Bangar and former India player Mohammed Kaif, a member of the 2003 World Cup team that lost to Australia in the final, prior to heading to the nets area.

ICC pitch consultant Andy Atkinson, about whom there was plenty of speculation about whether he was in India or had flown back home in a huff after the local curators in Mumbai and Ahmedabad, venue of India’s semifinal and final respectively, had switched the pitch to another surface than was previously decided, arrived before noon and oversaw preparations.

Just before the training session, BCCI General Manager and former India pacer Abey Kuruvilla too had a look at it. The color of the playing surface remained dark, quite unlike the mood of the fans still thronging ticket booking booths donning the India blue, still optimistic of getting a ticket and willing to pay 10 times the actual amount for it.

Then what went wrong? There should be a thorough inquiry about the pitch. Questions will be asked in the ensuing session of Parliament about India’s loss to Australia in the CWC final. Let the truth about the pitch come out. If not, what is the use of spending crores of Rupees on a show that shatters the dreams of a billion-plus fans of this funny game?

Let us hope Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was present to watch the finals, will look into the matter so that it will help to take steps not to face such an ugly letdown!

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