Changed pitch in focus before SA-Australia semi-final
Following controversy that BCCI has changed the pitch for the semi-final game between India and New Zealand in Mumbai today without the permission of the ICC, the matter became the talking point among the other two semi-finalists Australia and South Africa ahead of the second semi-final in Kolkata.
After the report, the focus shifted towards the centre wickets of the Eden Gardens as well where journalists from both Australia and South Africa along with the local media were keeping a close eye on the surface.
The topic was raised during the pre-match press conference ahead of the second semi-final in Kolkata today. Australian skipper Pat Cummins kept his faith on ICC saying that the independent curator would make sure things remain fair for both the teams.
"Yeah, I saw that (the report). Obviously, ICC have an independent pitch curator who manages that so I'm sure they are all over making sure it's fair for both teams. So far this tournament (on pitches) that we've played on I've not seen any issue," said Cummins.
According to the Daily Mail report the first semi-final was initially supposed to be played on Pitch 7, the central strip of the Wankhede Stadium's pitch block. Pitch 7 is a fresh surface that was not used in the league stage of the World Cup.
But a decision was made to shift the game to Pitch 6, which is slightly off-centre and has already hosted two matches in the tournament: South Africa's 229-run win over England on October 21, and India's 302-run victory over Sri Lanka on November 2.
The ICC also have an independent pitch consultant, Andy Atkinson, who works alongside local groundstaff. According to the report Atkinson has become frustrated by changes to pre-agreed plans throughout the World Cup, and that he speculated in a leaked email whether the pitch for the final in Ahmedabad on Sunday "will be the first ever ICC CWC 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."