“The most powerful cricket setup in the world is leaving nothing to chance in trying to control the “cricketing elements” so that the hosts finish on top against Australia and qualify for the World T20 semi-finals,” writes the Hindustan Times.
They quoted their sources as saying that on request of the Indian team management the pitch for Sunday’s all-important game has been changed.
“The game was scheduled to be played on a pitch which would have played similar to the one that was used for the Pakistan-Australia match. But India weren’t happy and have now requested a change. Now, the pitch that they have chosen will assist spin and maybe inconsistent bounce,” said an official privy to the development.
Something similar happened in Nagpur in India’s first game as well which they lost to New Zealand. The pitch was changed there, too, at the behest of the team management. The move backfired as India couldn’t cope with New Zealand spinners Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi.
“These moves are unprecedented as in an ICC tournament, the pitches are prepared and offered by an ICC-appointed curator. That is meant to be sacrosanct,” said the paper report.
In these times when the sport is driven by economics, it is in the interest of all stakeholders to see India go deeper in the tournament. It is a no-brainer that with India advancing, the broadcasters’ revenue keeps flowing which, in turn, helps fill coffers of the boards across the world. Therefore, it’s imperative for India to win Sunday’s game and more.
From the players’ point of view too, it is crucial that India get to the last four of a tournament they haven’t won for the past nine years. Skipper MS Dhoni too is facing the prospect of a major embarrassment if India fail to make the semi-finals at home.