GUWAHATI: Cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar has weighed in on the controversy surrounding the Wankhede pitch ahead of the highly anticipated World Cup 2023 semi-final clash between India and New Zealand today.
The controversy erupted as a report from the Daily Mail accused the BCCI of switching the pitch from the originally designated unused track (pitch 7) to pitch number six, which had already seen action in two league games during the tournament. The report suggested that the change was made to favour Indian spinners in the crucial match against New Zealand.
Reacting to the allegations, Gavaskar expressed his disregard for the debate, dismissing it as mere speculation on the eve of a semi-final.
He stressed that the pitch is available for all teams and highlighted India’s capability to handle various surfaces, as demonstrated throughout the tournament.
“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 seen that in the tournament so far,” Gavaskar was quoted as saying by a national news publication.
While acknowledging the likelihood of a drier pitch due to the absence of rain, Gavaskar reassured that the Wankhede pitch is generally favourable for batting.
He also acknowledged the potential for some spin but expressed confidence in India’s strong bowling unit to perform well.
“Yes, there will be just a little bit of spin, no question about it. But the Mumbai pitch is generally very good for batting, 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,” Gavaskar said.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan also weighed in, stressing that a World Cup semi-final should be played on a fresh pitch.
However, Gavaskar remained unfazed, putting his faith in the Indian team’s ability to adapt and deliver a strong performance regardless of the pitch conditions.