Pitch consultant was apprised of change: ICC

Wankhede pitch
Indian captain Rohit Sharma inspects the Wankhede Pitch ahead of the semifinal. File photo: PTI/Shailendra Bhojak

Mumbai: After a pitch controversy sullied the atmosphere ahead of the World Cup semifinal between India and New Zealand, the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday clarified that the independent pitch consultant Andy Atkinson was taken into confidence on the change of surface.

A few reports suggested that while a fresh pitch was originally prepared for the last-four match at the Wankhede Stadium, later it was decided to play the game on a "used" deck in order to help the Indian spinners.

However, the global governing body stated that the decision to change the pitch has nothing uncommon to it. "Changes to planned pitch rotations are common towards the end of an event of this length, and have already happened a couple of times. This change was made on the recommendation of the venue curator in conjunction with our host," the ICC said in a statement.

The ICC also said Atkinson, its independent pitch consultant, was aware of the change. "The ICC independent pitch consultant was apprised of the change," said the ICC.

As per the ICC's Playing Conditions for the World Cup, the host association is "responsible for the selection and preparation of the pitch" and there is no requirement that a knockout match must be played on fresh pitches.

Australian captain Pat Cummins also did not read too much into the pitch episode. "Yeah, I saw that (the report)... obviously ICC have an independent pitch curator who manages that. So I'm sure they are making sure it's fair for both teams," Cummins said ahead of Australia's semifinal against South Africa at Eden Gardens.

"So far this tournament that we've played on, I've not seen any issue," added Cummins.

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