Cricket World Cup: Former England captain Vaughan hits out at pitch

Cricket World Cup: Former England captain Michael Vaughan claims it’s ‘OBVIOUS’ the ICC want India in the final, as he hits out at the decision to change the pitch at the last minute for semi-final clash with New Zealand

  • The pitch for the World Cup semi-final was changed at the last minute
  • Michael Vaughan has hit out at the decision to allow the pitch to be changed
  • He believes India did not need to look for any more advantages for the match 

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has hit out at the decision to allow the World Cup semi-final clash between India and New Zealand to be played on a used pitch.

Wednesday’s match had been due to be played on a fresh strip, but Mail Sport revealed yesterday that India’s cricket board, the BCCI, had gone against a previous agreement with the ICC and chosen to make a late switch to a pitch already used twice in the tournament.

The hosts have been accused of making this decision to assist their world-class spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav. 

Vaughan was not happy with the change and made his feelings clear on social media on Wednesday morning ahead of the toss.

He posted on X: ‘A World Cup semi should be played on a fresh pitch… It’s as simple as that.’

Former England captain Michael Vaughan (left) has hit out at the decision to change the pitch for the semi-final clash at the last minute

Vaughan’s view on the pitch was shared by ex-Australia coach Darren Lehmann (pictured)

Vaughan went into further detail on his views on Test Match Special later on Wednesday morning, insisting India did not need to look for any more advantages as they are already the best team in the competition.

‘It is a bit of a sour taste,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t sit with me that a World Cup semi-final is played on a used pitch.

‘I don’t think India needed to do anything. They have played the best cricket by a country mile. They shouldn’t have got involved in what the surface should be.

‘Let’s not beat around the truth… the ICC want India in the final. They probably would’ve beaten New Zealand on any pitch because they’re that good and so much better than most of the other teams in the tournament. It will still be a great game but the rest of the world will be like “really? Don’t make it so obvious”.

‘We should be talking about cricket but rather than these two incredible teams we are talking about the pitch.’

His thoughts on the pitch were shared by ex-World Cup winner and former Australia head coach Darren Lehmann who wrote on X: ‘Fresh pitch for ICC events a must. Not even a question, just should happen.’

Another Australian World Cup winner Damien Martyn agreed, but suggested there may be another reason for the late change.

‘Agree @MichaelVaughan if this happens.. A World Cup Semi Final needs a fresh pitch. But maybe we are all missing something?’ he added.

SEN radio host Gerard Whateley was even more damning as he said: ‘I can’t believe that. No, I shouldn’t say that… I can believe this absolutely, that this is happening.

‘I think it’s outrageous. This is an international tournament. Prepare the pitches however you like for your home series, every nation has the choice to do that if they want to.

‘But this is an international tournament, it hasn’t quite felt that way.’

Meanwhile, 1992 World Cup winner Wasim Akram was also critical of the situation created by the Indian management.

Former Pakistan pace bowler Wasim Akram was critical of the decision to switch the pitch

Indian great Anil Kumble (pictured) admitted he was surprised the pitch had been changed, but did not believe it would have a major impact on the result

‘This should be the last thing on the Indian cricket team’s mind. This is just unnecessary,’ he said.

Indian great Anil Kumble admitted he was ‘surprised’ by the switch, but insisted it should have very little impact on the final result.

‘I have no idea [why]. It’s very surprising the pitch has changed,’ he said.

‘All the broadcast equipment was setup for the [new] pitch and now today it seems like they’ve moved to the surface which was used. But at the Wankhede, the surface generally helps the batters and it comes on nicely, so it shouldn’t really matter.’

Responding to the late change, an ICC spokesperson said:  ‘Changes to planned pitch rotations are common towards the end of an event of this length, and has already happened a couple of times. 

‘This change was made on the recommendation of the venue curator in conjunction with our host. The ICC independent pitch consultant was apprised of the change and has no reason to believe the pitch won’t play well.’

Rohit Sharma (left) and Kane Williamson (right) both played down the significance of the pitch change at the toss

Despite a number of former players expressing their concerns about the pitch, both captains attempted to play down the significance of it at the toss.

After winning the toss and electing to bat first, India captain Rohit Sharma said: ‘It looks a good pitch, a little on the slower side but whatever we do, we have to do it well.

‘We have to perform on the day and control the controllables.’

His opposite number, Kane Williamson, added: ‘We would’ve had a bat first as well. It’s obviously a used surface but we’ll try to make use of it with the ball first up and hopefully there’s some dew later.’

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