Ricky Ponting, Michael Vaughan and Nasser Hussain call out India for tactical pitch ‘backfire’

Indian captain Rohit Sharma did not want to give the pitch as an excuse for his team’s defeat.

Published: 20th November 2023 01:13 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th November 2023 01:15 PM   |  A+A-

Australian players celebrate with the trophy after winning the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 finals at the Narendra Modi Stadium, in Ahmedabad, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023. (Photo | PTI)

By Online Desk

India’s alleged pitch manipulation may have blown up in the host team’s face, so feels former Australian captain Ricky Ponting and two former England cricketers.

The pitch for the final India-Australia ODI World Cup on Nov 19, 2023, was the same surface as the one on which India cruised to a seven-wicket pool win over Pakistan last month.

At the Narendra Modi stadium in Ahmedabad, Cummins won the crucial toss and made the call to send India in to bat. It apparently proved to be a masterstroke as the pitch appeared to deteriorate in the batsman’s favour as the match progressed.

Rohit smashed a quickfire 47 before Australia hit back and bowled out the hosts for 240 despite fifties from Virat Kohli (54) and KL Rahul (66).

Though Australia lost three quick wickets, Travis Head came to the rescue for the Aussies. His sparkling 137 off 120 balls helped Australia lift the world cup for the record sixth time and break 1.4 billion hearts of Indian fans. Head had earlier taken a stunning catch to send back skipper Rohit Sharma to the pavilion.

Australia's Travis Head acknowledges the crowd as he walks off the ground after his dismissal during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 final match against India. (Photo | PTI)

Head and Marnus Labuschagne, who hit 58 not out, put on 192 for the fourth wicket to thwart the Indian bowling.

Suggestions about the Indian team having loose control over the pitch prepared for Monday morning’s Cricket World Cup Final dominated the lead up to the match — and speculations and debates are likely to continue in the days to come.

Quick to react was Aussie cricket icon Ricky Ponting. He said the pitch prepared to suit the host side “backfired" for them.

Ponting said it all in his commentary for Fox Sports.

“It was very, very sub-continental conditions today,” the former Test captain said.

“A wicket preparation that has probably ended up backfiring on India to be totally fair.”

India captain Rohit Sharma after the game admitted his team were “not good enough” — but he was quick to add how some things didn’t go his team’s way.

Rohit did not want to give the pitch as an excuse for his team’s defeat.

“We knew under the lights it would be slightly better but I don’t want to give that as an excuse,” he said.

Indian players during the presentation ceremony of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 at the Narendra Modi Stadium, in Ahmedabad, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023. (Photo | PTI)

England Test great Michael Vaughan and former England captain Nasser Hussain also shared their thoughts.

While Vaughan said Australia tamed the conditions much easier than India, Hussain said India’s tactics about trying to protect its lower order was another factor on why the pitch backfired on India.

“Strategically they are a very clever team,” Vaughan said in commentary of Australia.

“They’ve clearly got a very clever think tank. I don’t think they are a 320 side, they are a 280 side and preparing a pitch like this gave Australia a chance.

“They did exactly what Pat Cummins said they would, they’ve silenced the crowd. They’ve done it in great fashion. I don’t know anyone who thought the game would be done in 43 overs with Australia coasting to the target.”

“India are still a great side - but the pitch brought Australia into it,” Hussain said on Sky Sports.

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