India elect to bat amid pitch controversy

- November 15, 2023
| By : Patriot Bureau |

Rohit Sharma wins toss and puts New Zealand into bat after controversy erupts over last minute change of pitch

Skipper Rohit Sharma won the toss and elected to bat in the first semi-final of the ICC World Cup between India and New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday.

Both the teams have featured an unchanged playing XI from the last game.

India have gone in with five bowlers — three pacemen and two spinners, while New Zealand are playing four specialist bowlers – three pacemen and one spinner.

While India played at the Wankhede in the league stage, against Sri Lanka, bowling out the islanders for just 55 and winning by 302 runs, New Zealand have not played a single game at the venue.

Even before the toss for the match could take place, the semi-final was afflicted by controversy.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the pitch was changed from the originally planned pitch No. 7 to pitch No. 6, following ‘differences’ between the ICC appointed curator Andy Atkinson and the Indian cricket board.

A leaked email from Atkinson to the International Cricket Council (ICC) is quoted by the British newspaper as saying, “As a result of these actions, one must speculate if this will be the first ever ICC CWC [cricket World Cup] final to have a pitch which has been specifically chosen and prepared to their stipulation at the request of the team management and/or the hierarchy of the home nation board.”

Playing XIs

New Zealand: Devon Conway, Rachin Ravindra, Kane Williamson (captain), Daryl Mitchell, Tom Latham (wicketkeeper-batsman), Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Mark Chapman, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult

India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wicketkeeper-batsman), Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj