Ex-cricketers lash out at ‘awful’ Old Trafford wicket

Former cricketers have lashed out at the pitch used for the first semifinal between India and New Zealand in Manchester at the ongoing World Cup.

On Tuesday, the Black Caps were not able to score freely on what looked like a two-paced surface at the Old Trafford. In the 46.1 overs of play that was possible, the Kiwis could manage only 211/5 as the match was pushed on the reserve day due to rain. Skipper Kane Williamson took 97 balls for his 67 while veteran Ross Taylor was unbeaten on 67 off 85 deliveries when the match came to a halt on Tuesday.

Former Australia batsman Mark Waugh said the Old Trafford pitch was on the slower side. “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 tweeted.

Former England cricketer Mark Butcher termed 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 former England cricketer Graeme Fowler said the wicket for the first semifinal was “awful”. “What an awful wicket for World Cup semifinal. 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,” he tweeted.

Earlier, ICC CEO Dave Richardson had said that it was a conscious effort to not let the batsmen run away with the games and let the bowlers have a go and balance things out.

“We have looked at bringing in balance with even wickets. It is not about preparing batting paradises. The weather also comes into the picture and a wicket with even bounce throughout the game is what we look at,” he had said.

Asked if this sets a precedent for the future tournaments because the general notion has been that batsmen are ruling the roost in world cricket these days, especially in the shorter formats, Richardson said: “Yes, the idea is to have balance. The overcast conditions in England also helps. It allows you that position.”

(IANS)