CCI admits pitch bad, may shift final
The Cricket Club of India president Raj Singh Dungarpur said in Mumbai on Tuesday that Brabourne Stadium could lose the Champions Trophy final if the wicket did not improve. The International Cricket Council (ICC), however, termed the statement “alarmist and premature.”
The final is scheduled here on November 5. The Brabourne wicket, which has faced fluctuating weather, has come under fire for its excessive turn and slowness. On Monday, New Zealand defeated South Africa by 87 runs, with neither side reaching 200.
“I am worried about the wicket, I’m won’t sleep well tonight,” Raj Singh told HT on Tuesday. “If it doesn’t get better, we might have to take the final elsewhere. One-day cricket is a batting exhibition. And if the wicket does not allow teams to score, it shouldn’t stage a final. There is too much at stake.”
Asked if the possibility of shifting the final has been discussed, he said, “It has fallen upon my ears. I am going to have a chat with Malcolm Speed (ICC CEO) about it.”
ICC spokesman Brian Murgatroyd, however, said there was no plan to shift the venue of the final. Not yet. “We have more than two weeks to go for the final,” Murgatroyd said.
“The ICC has no intention of moving the final to another venue. Any such talk at this point of time would be premature and alarmist.”
Raj Singh blamed the weather for the intemperate behaviour of the wicket. “We know our wicket and Keki Kotwal (ground supervisor) has worked hard. But the weather has been difficult to handle. Intense heat has followed heavy rain in Mumbai. As a result, preparing a good pitch has been a challenge.”
Raj Singh hoped the track would hold up better for Wednesday’s match between West Indies and Australia.
“We watered it today (Tuesday) and will open it up early tomorrow,” he said. “Let’s pray for the best. But right now, it’s making my knees weak.”
Ground supervisor Kotwal could not be reached for his comments.