A major controversy surfaced on the crucial India versus New Zealand semi-final of the ODI World Cup 2023 at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium regarding an alleged last-minute pitch change.

Despite the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) pitch consultant, Andy Atkinson, approving a ‘fresh pitch,’ the BCCI reportedly decided to utilize a used pitch for the high-stakes encounter, according to a report from Daily Mail.

The unexpected deviation from the initially approved pitch raised questions and added an element of intrigue to the much-anticipated semi-final clash. Amid the rumours, former cricketers Sunil Gavaskar and Michael Vaughan responded to the ongoing quarrels regarding pitch change.

Sunil Gavaskar’s take

Gavaskar downplayed concerns about the semi-final pitch, emphasizing that the surface is the same for all teams. He expressed confidence in the Indian team’s ability to handle various pitches and highlighted the likelihood of a drier pitch due to the absence of rain, suggesting minimal moisture.

“The pitch is there for all the teams, so I don’t think there should be too much discussion on what this pitch will do or not do. I do believe that this Indian team is perfectly capable of handling any kind of surface. Having you seen that in the tournament so far. And if it’s a drier pitch, which is likely to be the case simply because the rains have gone. So there will be there is no hint of any moisture,” Gavaskar said, as quoted by India Today.

The Mumbai-born cricketer acknowledged the potential for a bit of spin but emphasized Wankhede’s traditionally batting-friendly nature, asserting that the pitch should not pose significant challenges for the Men in Blue, especially given their skilled bowling lineup.

“Yes, there will be one which there might be just a little bit of spin, no question about it. But the Mumbai pitch is generally very good for bating, so I don’t think there should be too much of an issue. With the kind of bowling that we have, bowlers who have bowled superbly, whether they are bowling first or second, I don’t think the pitch would be too much of an issue at all,” the 74-year-old added.

Also READ: India veteran Ravi Shastri picks the two finalists of ODI World Cup 2023

Michael Vaughan’s opinion

The former England captain Vaughan weighed in on the reports, stating that the match should be played on a new pitch.

“A World Cup semi should be played on a fresh pitch .. It’s as simple as that ..” Vaughan wrote in his tweet.

Also READ: Harbhajan Singh slams Inzamam-ul-Haq for his controversial ‘conversion’ remark

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