‘All those morons saying pitch was swapped, hope they just shut up’

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Legendary Sunil Gavaskar made blistering remarks on rumors suggesting last-minute pitch tampering to favour spinners in the India-New Zealand World Cup 2023 semi-final clash at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. Reports alleging that Mumbai Cricket Association and BCCI changed the pitch to spin-friendly conditions were sharply rebuffed by the legendary cricketer. Gavaskar, on the eve of the crucial match, refuted claims of a conspiratorial change to the 22-yard strip, asserting the integrity of the game.

The match unfolded unexpectedly, witnessing over 700 runs scored with pacers dominating the wickets. Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer and Daryl Mitchell notched up centuries, while Shubman Gill and Kane Williamson secured half-centuries. Later, Mohammed Shami set a record with seven wickets, marking a thrilling performance by Indian bowlers. The Little Master urged critics to refrain from taking “potshots” at India, advising against unwarranted scrutiny.

“They (India) scored close to 400 runs, and had that extra 70-80 runs cushion. This has been such a wonderful pitch. We’ve got more than 700 runs scored on this. All those morons who have been saying that the pitch has been charged to favour the Indian spinners, I hope they just shut up, stop taking potshots at India just because it helps you to get whatever eyeballs,” Gavaskar said on Star Sports after India beat New Zealand to enter the final.

As per ICC regulations, the host association holds the duty to choose and ready the pitch for World Cup matches. The 74-year-old highlighted that the guidelines don’t mandate fresh pitches for knockout games. He emphasized that any potential pitch change, if made before the toss, equally affects both competing teams, ensuring a level playing field regardless of alterations.

“It’s nonsense. Even if it was changed, it was done before the toss. It wasn’t changed after the toss or in the middle of the innings. You are a World Cup team, you play on that pitch, you win. India have done that. So stop talking about the pitch,” he said.

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