A slow pitch is expected for India’s World Cup semi-final against New Zealand after the team management asked BCCI curators to shave off most of the grass on the Wankhede Stadium playing surface.
The Indian Express understands that the think tank had informed the Wankhede curator about their preference after the game against the Netherlands in Bengaluru.
The BCCI local curators have formed a local organising group to look after pitches across the country during the World Cup. The International Cricket Council (ICC) also sent its own experts to various venues for each game.
A Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) official confirmed that a message was conveyed to prepare a slow track before the home team reached Mumbai.
“It won’t be a turner but the team had asked for a slow pitch. It was the main reason we shaved off the grass,” a source said.
India has performed well on slow tracks at home over the past few years. Before the World Cup, the team management had requested for their matches to be held on slow pitches.
Head coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma had a good look at the pitch on Tuesday. Later in the day, the team management spoke to the groundstaff and asked whether they will be spraying the anti-dew chemical post their practice session.
Chasing has been difficult at the Wankhede during the tournament, with only of the four games so far being won by the team batting second, that too due to Glenn Maxwell’s heroics against Afghanistan.
When asked about this trend, Rohit, a local boy, said: “I have played a lot of cricket here. The last 4-5 games won’t tell me a lot about what Wankhede is. I certainly believe that toss is not the factor.”