Ahead of India vs Pakistan clash, ICC admits New York pitches at T20 World Cup not up to the mark | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: The Nassau County ground‘s track has raised concerns during the ongoing T20 World Cup, with the ICC acknowledging on Thursday that the pitches used thus far have not played as consistently as we would have all wanted. The track is described as “bordering on dangerous with huge open cracks”.
These worries intensified following India’s eight-wicket victory against Ireland in a low-scoring match, where Ireland was dismissed for just 96 runs in 16 overs.
During the successful chase, India’s captain Rohit Sharma, who scored a half-century, was struck on his right bicep by pacer Josh Little, forcing him to retire hurt. The ball that hit him suddenly took off from length on a pitch that provided a significant amount of uneven bounce. Rishabh Pant was also hit on his left elbow during his unbeaten 36.
Apart from the injury scares, the nature of the pitch, a drop-in surface brought specifically from Adelaide for the World Cup, has raised questions. India are scheduled to play two more matches at this stadium.
Several former players, including Irfan Pathan, Michael Vaughan, and Sanjay Manjrekar, have deemed the track unsuitable for T20 cricket, especially when the event is being promoted as cricket’s entry into the untapped American market.
“T20 Inc and the ICC recognise that the pitches used so far at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium have not played as consistently as we would have all wanted,” the ICC said in a statement.
“The world-class grounds team have been working hard since the conclusion of yesterday’s game to remedy the situation and deliver the best possible surfaces for the remaining matches,” it added.
Rohit is anticipated to recover from his injury in time for the highly anticipated match against Pakistan, scheduled for Sunday.
“Rohit’s injury isn’t serious. He himself said that it’s a bit sore. He should be okay for Pakistan game (on Sunday) as of now. There are two practice sessions before that,” a senior BCCI source told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
Pathan, a key member of India’s victorious 2007 T20 World Cup squad, expressed his strong disapproval of the pitch, calling it unsafe.
“Look, we definitely want to promote cricket in America, but this pitch is not safe for players. If we had a pitch like this in India, a match would never be played there again for a very long time,” he said on Star Sports.
“This pitch is definitely not good. I mean, we are talking about the World Cup here, not even a bilateral series,” he asserted.
Also unimpressed was former England captain Vaughan.
“Trying to sell the game in the states is great.. love it.. but for players to have to play on this sub-standard surface in New York is unacceptable… You work so hard to make it to the WC then have to play on this,” he wrote on his X handle.
Rohit expressed his confusion regarding the pitch’s nature and admitted his uncertainty about how it would play during the match against Pakistan. The team’s batting coach, Vikram Rathour, was slightly more reserved in his assessment of the track.
“It is a challenging wicket as far as batting is concerned but this is what we have. So we need to find ways to deal with that,” Rathour said in the post-match press conference, placing the onus on his team to find ways to score.
The Indian team management is unlikely to file any official complaint. But the displeasure is clear about the nature of the track, which according to some who saw, is “unfit for T20 cricket” and “bordering on dangerous”.
“It is actually a very fresh pitch. There is a grass cover but along with it are big cracks. So, it will seam but also take off from length. Now when you have a fresh track like this, you first try out a few games like you do with beta testing of a new app,” the source explained.
“Then you release it in the market. It is not a T20 wicket and all four tracks look the same,” said another source after a first-hand look at the track following the match.
The uneven surface might benefit from a roller to smooth out the cracks, but it’s common knowledge that such pitches require time to become suitable for batting.
The Indian pace attack made light work of a highly skilled T20 team like Ireland. However, even Arshdeep Singh‘s most ardent admirers couldn’t have predicted that his deliveries would soar like surface to air missiles.
“One should be glad that nothing serious happened to Rohit and Rishabh (Pant). They are fine,” the source added.
Ireland’s Harry Tector faced a frightening delivery from Jasprit Bumrah during the match. The ball struck Tector’s gloves before making direct contact with his helmet, resulting in Virat Kohli securing the catch. As per protocol, Tector was required to undergo a mandatory concussion assessment following the incident.
The ICC has well-defined regulations regarding the quality of pitches used in tournaments. The evaluation process takes place only after the conclusion of the event. If a pitch is deemed to be below the required standards, its overall rating will be reduced accordingly.
Andy Flower, the former captain of Zimbabwe and a highly respected coach, joined others in voicing his disapproval of the pitch conditions.
“I have got to say that is not a good surface to play an international match on. It’s bordering on dangerous,” Flower said on ‘ESPNcricinfo’s Timeout’ show.
Former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar feels the pitch is under-prepared.
“You have seen dangerous pitches before as well at the international level but something has gone wrong with the preparation where either the pitch has been under-prepared or something that is beyond their control,” Manjrekar said.
(With PTI inputs)


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