Manchester: Former cricketers have come down heavily on the pitch used for the first World Cup semi-final between India and New Zealand here at Old Trafford.
New Zealand found it tough to score runs after opting to bat on what seemed to be a slow and two-paced surface here on Tuesday. The Kiwis managed to reach 211 for five in 46.1 overs before rain pushed the match to the reserve day.
Former Australia batsman Mark Waugh took to twitter to slam the pitch.
“Doesn’t look a great pitch at Old Trafford. Very much on the slow side and offering some turn. If NZ can somehow get to 240 they will be in the game,” Waugh wrote.
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson took 97 balls for his 67 while veteran Ross Taylor was unbeaten on 67 off 85 deliveries.
Former England Test cricketer Mark Butcher went to the extent of terming the pitches at the ongoing World Cup as “garbage”.
“Sorry, but pitches have been garbage this tournament,” Butcher tweeted.
“Uneven, two-paced…MIGHT give you an exciting 5 overs at the end of a run chase, but you’ve scared everybody off in the previous 95.”
Another ex England cricketer Graeme Fowler, who has played a lot matches during his first-class career with Old Trafford-based Lancashire, said the wicket for the first semifinal was “awful”.
“What an awful wicket for (a) World Cup semi-final,” his Twitter account said.
“I feel sorry for the spectators who have travelled and paid hefty prices having to watch this lottery on a very substandard pitch. It’s a disgrace,” Flower added.
Low scores have been a trait of this World Cup with pitches playing exactly opposite to what is usually seen in One-day Internationals in England in recent years.
Another Ex-English cricketer Paul Newman tweeted: “Old Trafford usually a terrific pitch. What has happened to pitches at this World Cup?? Has to be ICC instructions, surely?”
The International Cricket Council (ICC), however, have denied accusations of instructing the groundsmen to prepare slow pitches and said it had only told them to make sporting tracks.
“The guidance we give any host of an ICC event is to prepare the best possible pitches for the conditions in that country — so in this case the best possible ODI pitch for typical English conditions and we would also look for even bounce and good carry,” ICC said a statement.
“The ICC does not instruct groundsmen to prepare pitches in a certain way to advantage, or disadvantage, any team.”
Earlier, England batsman Jonny Bairstow had criticised the surfaces on offer, saying these have been totally different from those they normally play on.
“The pitches we’ve been playing on the last two years are surely the pitches we would be playing on in a World Cup? I don’t know why they’ve changed,” Bairstow said.
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