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AFP
June 15, 2019

Sri Lanka unhappy with ICC over unfair pitches

Sports

AFP
June 15, 2019

MANCHESTER: Pakistan’s players and officials didn’t like what they saw when they carried out a wicket inspection at the County Ground in Taunton ahead of their World Cup game against Australia earlier this week, writes Khalid Hussain.

The surface was too green for their liking.

One of the senior players spoke to ‘The News’ and expressed his concerns, complaining that the International Cricket Council (ICC) was making different pitches for different teams. He gave the example of last Sunday’s match at The Oval featuring Australia and India.

The brown wicket at The Oval was tailor-made to support India. “Why do India get wickets that suit them and we get wickets that suit our opposition,” the player said. He requested anonymity.

However, despite their displeasure the Pakistan camp decided against making their concerns public. But while they opted to stay discreet in their displeasure, Sri Lanka have decided to take the matter to the ICC.

According to reports, Ashantha de Mel, Sri Lanka’s Team manager, has lodged a complaint with the game’s governing body about “unfair” pitches made for his team’s World Cup matches. He has also complained about less-than-ideal training facilities and accommodation for his team.

Two of Sri Lanka’s World Cup matches were washed out but they were made to play on greentops in their first two games in Cardiff. They were thrashed by New Zealand and survived a scare against Afghanistan. De Mel and Sri Lanka were unhappy to see another green deck at The Oval where they will meet Australia.

“What we have found out is that for the four matches we have played so far at Cardiff and Bristol, the ICC has prepared a green pitch,” he was quoted as saying in an interview on Friday. “At the same venues, the other countries have played on pitches are brown and favourable for high scoring.

“The pitch being prepared for our match against Australia on Saturday here at The Oval is green. It is not sour grapes that we are complaining. But it is very unfair on the part of the ICC that they prepare one type of wicket for certain teams and another type for others.”

De Mel said that he has also brought to ICC’s notice about below-par training facilities and accommodation. “Even the practice facilities provided at Cardiff were unsatisfactory. Instead of three nets they gave us only two, and the hotel we were put up at Bristol did not have a swimming pool, which is very essential for every team - for the fast bowlers, especially, to relax their muscles after practice,” he said. “The hotels that Pakistan and Bangladesh were put up at Bristol had swimming pools.

“We wrote to the ICC listing all these shortcomings four days ago but so far we have not had any response from them. We will continue to write to them until we get a reply.” Privately, Pakistan have similar complaints but they are yet to official lodge it with the ICC. Sources said that the Pakistanis didn’t want a confrontation with the ICC. However, Sri Lanka’s decision to take their displeasure public might prompt the Pakistanis to follow suit.

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