T20 World Cup: Fans, experts slam New York pitch after India-Ireland match

Former players and fans criticise the ICC after New York produces another low-scoring match that left India captain Rohit Sharma injured.

rohit sharma
India's captain Rohit Sharma retired hurt after scoring 52 runs as he was hit on his arm in the match against Ireland in New York [Adam Hunger/AP]

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has come under criticism over the quality of the pitch at its Twenty20 World Cup venue in New York, with fans and experts calling for the organisers to move the remaining fixtures to another venue.

India and Ireland were involved in the second match of the tournament at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York and it was another low-scoring encounter that left batters struggling to hit the big shots that are common in the shortest format of the game.

India dismissed Ireland for 96 runs in 16 overs, with their pace bowlers taking eight wickets at unusually low economy rates as the Irish batters struggled to hit boundaries. Only three sixes and eight fours were hit in Ireland’s innings.

In reply, India, too, began slowly and lost their star batter Virat Kohli in the third over. Captain Rohit Sharma led their chase with 52 runs but retired hurt after being hit on his arm. India won the match by eight wickets and Rohit later confirmed his arm was “a little sore”.

“New ground, new venue, [we] wanted to see what’s it like to play on,” he said after the match.

“I don’t think the pitch settled down, there was enough there for the bowlers.”

Their premier pacer Jasprit Bumrah said he had no complaints about the pitch. “Coming from India, when you see the ball seaming around [here], I would never complain when there’s help for the bowlers.”

However, fans and former players vented their disappointment about the surface on social media.

Former Australia, Pakistan and South Africa coach Micky Arthur said the pitch was “very poor” in a post on X.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan was in agreement, terming it “shocking”.

“For players to have to play on this substandard surface in New York is unacceptable,” Vaughan went on to say in his post.

India ‘don’t know what to expect’ against Pakistan

New York is scheduled to host eight matches – the most of the three venues in the United States – and fans called on the ICC to “take a close look” at the pitch before the remaining fixtures.

Some fans suggested moving the fixtures to Dallas, which is the oldest cricket venue in the US and has produced a high-scoring match.

New York will host arguably the biggest fixture of the group stage on Sunday, when India face Pakistan in what is expected to be a sell-out crowd.

The ICC has not reacted to the criticism but is expected to use a new pitch for Sunday’s match.

Vaughan, who has now turned into a cricket commentator and analyst, said the South Asian rivals “will not love that kind of surface” when they meet in the marquee clash.

Former Zimbabwe captain and England coach Andy Flower said the pitch was “bordering on dangerous” in his post-match comments on ESPNCricinfo.

India’s captain Rohit said he was not sure “what to expect” on the surface in the match against Pakistan and his team would prepare for similar conditions.

His thoughts were echoed by India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour, who said their star-studded batting lineup would need to use all their skills and experience to counter the tricky surface.

“It was a challenging wicket and we were expecting a challenging wicket because we played a practice game here. So, we knew what to expect,” Rathour said after the match.

“It is what it is. We need to find a way to deal with it and I think we have enough skills in the team and enough experience in the team to deal with it. We should be fine.

“We have enough good batters who can manage to bat well on any kind of surface. I think that has been our strength for many, many years. I think we can adapt really well to different conditions.”

Before India and Pakistan face off in New York, Ireland will play their second match at the same venue against Canada on June 7.

INTERACTIVE - Men's T20 World Cup-stadiums-venues-map-2023 copy 2-1716469524

Source: Al Jazeera