T20 World Cup 2024: ICC Responds Over Criticism On India vs Ireland Pitch

In a statement, the ICC said, “T20 Inc and the ICC recognize that the pitches used so far at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium have not played as consistently as we would have all wanted.

The Nassau County ground’s pitch has drawn significant concern during the ongoing T20 World Cup, with the ICC acknowledging on Thursday that the tracks “have not played as consistently as we would have all wanted.” The pitch, described as “bordering on dangerous with huge open cracks,” became a focal point after India’s low-scoring eight-wicket victory over Ireland, who were dismissed for just 96 runs in 16 overs. India’s captain, Rohit Sharma, who scored a half-century, was forced to retire hurt after a delivery from pacer Josh Little reared up unexpectedly, striking him on the right bicep. Rishabh Pant also sustained a blow to his left elbow during his unbeaten 36.

This drop-in pitch, brought from Adelaide specifically for the World Cup, has raised eyebrows as India is set to play two more matches at this venue. Several former players, including Irfan Pathan, Michael Vaughan, and Sanjay Manjrekar, criticized the pitch as unsuitable for T20s, especially given the event’s aim to popularize cricket in the United States.

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In a statement, the ICC said, “T20 Inc and the ICC recognize that the pitches used so far at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium have not played as consistently as we would have all wanted. The world-class grounds team have been working hard since the conclusion of yesterday’s game to remedy the situation and deliver the best possible surfaces for the remaining matches.”

Despite his injury, Rohit is expected to be fit for the high-profile match against Pakistan on Sunday. A senior BCCI source noted, “Rohit’s injury isn’t serious. He himself said that it’s a bit sore. He should be okay for the Pakistan game as of now. There are two practice sessions before that.”

Pathan, reflecting on India’s 2007 T20 World Cup triumph, criticized the pitch on Star Sports, calling it unsafe. “We definitely want to promote cricket in America, but this pitch is not safe for players. If we had a pitch like this in India, a match would never be played there again for a very long time,” he stated.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan also expressed his dissatisfaction, tweeting, “Trying to sell the game in the States is great… love it… but for players to have to play on this sub-standard surface in New York is unacceptable.”

India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour acknowledged the challenge, stating, “It is a challenging wicket as far as batting is concerned, but this is what we have. So we need to find ways to deal with that.”

Although the Indian team management is unlikely to file an official complaint, the discontent with the pitch is evident. Sources described it as “unfit for T20 cricket” and “bordering on dangerous.” The pitch, with significant grass cover and large cracks, is still settling, and a roller might help even out the surface, though this takes time.

Concerns about player safety were underscored when Ireland’s Harry Tector underwent a mandatory concussion test after being struck by a bouncer from Jasprit Bumrah. The ICC’s rules on pitch quality are clear, with an assessment expected after the tournament; if the pitch is found sub-standard, its rating will be downgraded.

Adding to the criticism, former Zimbabwe captain and coach Andy Flower said, “I have got to say that is not a good surface to play an international match on. It’s bordering on dangerous,” on ESPNcricinfo’s Timeout show. Sanjay Manjrekar added that the pitch seemed under-prepared, suggesting that either preparation was inadequate or there were factors beyond control affecting its quality.