India vs New Zealand, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Former batsmen Graeme Fowler, Mark Butcher slam 'awful' Manchester pitch for semi-final clash

Former England 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 at Old Trafford on Tuesday

Agence France-Presse, Jul 10, 2019 09:51:51 IST

Manchester: Former England 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 at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

India vs New Zealand, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Former batsmen Graeme Fowler, Mark Butcher slam awful Manchester pitch for semi-final clash

Rain stopped play in Manchester with New Zealand at 211/5 from 46.1 overs. Reuters

New Zealand found run-scoring tough on what many observers agreed was a slow and two-paced surface, making 211 for five in 46.1 overs before rain forced the match into a reserve day.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, one of the world's best batsmen, took 97 balls to make 67 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."

India still had to bowl well regardless, and paceman Jasprit Bumrah led a disciplined display by his side's attack with one wicket for 25 runs in eight overs.

Low scores have been 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.

Some have attributed this to an unusually wet June hampering groundsmen in their pitch preparation.

But Butcher, like Fowler a former England opener, had little sympathy.

"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 again denied accusations 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, whose host side face champions Australia in Thursday's second semi-final at Birmingham's Edgbaston ground, had previously queried 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.

Williamson has been New Zealand's run-scoring rock this World Cup and former England fast-medium bowler Mike Selvey tweeted Tuesday: "Travelling home and reflecting that I have seen one of the finest innings I've ever witnessed from Kane Williamson today.

"Look and learn those who think teeing off is the only answer," Selvey, also a former cricket correspondent of The Guardian newspaper, added.

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Updated Date: Jul 10, 2019 09:51:51 IST






Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3778 105
5 Australia 2640 98
6 Sri Lanka 3462 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 6939 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
6 Pakistan 4756 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 India 8099 261
5 Australia 5471 261
6 New Zealand 4056 254