Mohali Pitch
Mohali Pitch

The Indian cricket board – BCCI – has shown their monopoly in international cricket once again as they changed the pitch of a group stage between India and Australia at the 12th hour of the match so that the host have a better chance to qualify for the World T20 semi-finals, as per a report in Hindustan Times .(HT).

Sources in the BCCI confirmed to HT that on request of the Indian team management the pitch for Sunday’s winner takes all has been changed.

“The game was scheduled to be played on a pitch which would have played similar to the one that was used for the Pakistan-Australia match. But India weren’t happy and have now requested a change. Now, the pitch that they have chosen will assist spin and maybe inconsistent bounce,” said an official in the know of developments.

Something similar happened in Nagpur in India’s first game as well which they lost to New Zealand. The pitch was changed there, too, at the behest of the team management. The move backfired as India couldn’t cope with New Zealand spinners Mitchell Santner, Nathan McCullum and Ish Sodhi.

Immoral move  

It will not be an exaggeration to say that BCCI is doctoring the pitches in this tournament. In these times when the sport is driven by economics, it is in the interest of all stakeholders to see India go deeper in the tournament and eventually win it. It is a no-brainer that with India advancing, the broadcasters’ revenue keeps flowing which, in turn, helps fill coffers of ICC and BCCI. Therefore, it’s necessary for India to win Sunday’s game and even semi-final.

From the players’ point of view too, it is crucial that India gets to the last four of a tournament they haven’t won this tournament for the past nine years. Skipper MS Dhoni too is facing the prospect of major embarrassment if India fails to make the semi-finals at home.

Till now, runs have followed in the men’s matches at Mohali, with New Zealand scoring 180 and Australia more than 190. Even New Zealand  women scored 177 against Ireland.

But with India, it has been a different story. At the Eden Gardens, Pakistan scored more than 200 against Bangladesh on a belter of a pitch, but three days later against India, struggled to a poultry 118 runs in 18 overs. Even the ever reliant Chinnaswamy pitch in Bangalore was doctored, but things didn’t go as per the plan of hosts and India almost suffered an embarrassment at the hands of Bangladesh, but somehow be it luck or Bangladesh’s inability to close out the match meant India won that game by a mere 1 run.