England
Ex-England batsmen slam 'awful' World Cup semi-final pitch

Former English batsmen Graeme Fowler and Mark Butcher both took to Twitter to condemn the “awful” pitch used for the World Cup semi-final between India and New Zealand after rain prevented the match finishing as scheduled at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

New Zealand found run-scoring durable on what many observers agreed was a slow and two-paced surface, making 211 for five in 46.1 overs.

The Kiwi’s skipper, Kane Williamson, scored 67 runs off 97 balls after winning the toss.

Fowler, who spent the bulk of his first-class career with Old Trafford-based Lancashire, was scathing about the conditions at the Manchester ground, tweeting: “What an awful wicket for (a) World Cup semi-final.

“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.”

Indian pacer paceman Jasprit Bumrah guided a disciplined display by his side’s attack with one wicket for 25 runs in eight overs.

Low scores have also been observed a feature of this World Cup, with pitches playing in significantly different fashion from the surfaces seen in one-day internationals in England during recent years.

Former Test cricketer Mark Butcher also slammed the pitches calling them 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,” he added.

Meanwhile the International Cricket Council (ICC) again opposed allegation it had instructed local groundsmen to prepare deliberately slow pitches.

“The guidance we give any host of an ICC event is to prepare the best possible pitches for the conditions in that country –- so in this case the best possible ODI pitch for typical English conditions and we would also look for even bounce and good carry,” said a statement from the global governing body.

“The ICC does not instruct groundsmen to prepare pitches in a certain way to advantage, or disadvantage, any team.”

England batsman Jonny Bairstow, ahead of their semi-final game against Australia on Thursday, had also questioned why this tournament’s pitches were so different from those normally associated with World Cup venues.

“The pitches we’ve been playing on the last two years are surely the pitches we would be playing on in a World Cup? I don’t know why they’ve changed,” Bairstow said.

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