News that Thursday’s T20 World Cup semi final between India and England at Adelaide Oval will be played on a used pitch has caused a stir with some surprised by the decision to not use a fresh wicket.
Multiple English outlets have reported that a used wicket will be used despite it being one of the biggest matches of the tournament.
England has been involved in several similar incidents, such as during the 2017 Champions Trophy semi final against Pakistan when then captain Eoin Morgan complained after the match.
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He bemoaned that “there was no home advantage” and that it was “too much of an ask to adjust to the pace and bounce”.
Last year, England and India’s women’s teams controversially played a one-off Test match on a used wicket in Bristol — a decision Isabelle Westbury called a “bloody shambles”.
This time, there are concerns that a used wicket will suit India’s spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel over Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali for England.
Daily Mail cricket writer Paul Newman called it an “extraordinary” decision to play another high-profile match on a used pitch.
“Extraordinary to hear that England’s World Cup semi-final against India at the Adelaide Oval is going to be played on a used pitch,” Newman tweeted.
“This is supposed to be a global tournament. Can’t even prepare a fresh one for a big game like this….”
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Newman’s complaint was challenged, however, by Daniel Brettig of The Agewho said that any perception that the wicket was going to spin more because it’s used is incorrect in the case of Adelaide.
“Funnily enough, the older or more “used” an Adelaide Oval drop-in pitch is, the less it tends to spin,” Brettig wrote. “The spin on the surface these days actually comes from thatchy live grass coverage rather than much wear and tear. Ask any local player.”
England reportedly only learned it will play on a used wicket on Tuesday when it arrived at Adelaide Oval for training.
Ben Stokes said that England will adapt to the conditions, saying: “We’ll have to wait and see what the wicket does on Thursday but it will be about assessing and adapting to whatever situation we have in front of us.”
Meanwhile, the ICC has defended the decision, saying that it has no obligation to roll out a fresh wicket.
“The ICC does not have a rule about the use of fresh or used pitches for any match,” a spokesperson said.
“Decisions are based on a number of considerations, including the rotation of pitches curated for a tournament and the management of available playing surface.
“It does not necessarily follow that a new pitch will be better than a used one.”