File photo of India captain Rohit Sharma.© AFP
What will be ICC pitch consultant Andy Atkinson’s future was a question floating around as the burly New Zealander was nowhere to be seen during pitch preparation 48 hours ahead of the World Cup final between India and Australia at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. It has been learnt that Atkinson has arrived in Ahmedabad Friday afternoon and he will join the preparations tomorrow. This comes after news agency PTI had reported that Atkinson had left India ahead of the final.
“Andy hasn’t gone back home. He has come with ICC delegation today afternoon and hence didn’t come to the ground. He will be available tomorrow to check on the preparation of the track,” an ICC source told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
Atkinson isn’t exactly a favourite with the BCCI brass after he accused the host nation of changing track for the semi-final between India and New Zealand from a fresh to a used one.
However, the ICC later sent a clarification that there is no such rule of holding knock-out matches on a fresh track and Atkinson was apprised of the development in advance.
On Friday, the two senior BCCI’s chief of ground staff Ashish Bhowmick and his second in command Taposh Chatterjee, along with former India seamer and BCCI’s GM (Domestic Cricket) Abbey Kuruvilla, closely monitored the pitch preparations for the mega final on Sunday.
It couldn’t be confirmed if the track to be used for the final is a used one or a fresh surface. But the two senior curators and BCCI GM monitored the use of heavy roller on the designated 22-yard strip. “If heavy roller is being used on a black soil strip then the idea is to create a slow batting track where you can get a big score but you possibly can’t consistently hit through the line. 315 could be a defendable score as batting second will be difficult,” a state association curator explained.
Indian skipper Rohit Sharma, along with first team regulars KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja, had an extensive net session, with reserve players Ishan Kishan, Ravichandran Ashwin and Prasidh Krishna for company.
As has been the custom, Rohit and Dravid spent a considerable amount of time looking at the track and also had extensive discussions with Bhowmick and Chatterjee.
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