BCCI silences pitch brouhaha

A last-minute chance of track at the Sawai Man Singh stadium in Jaipur for Royals’ match against Chennai Super Kings triggered off a controversy, with a livid Warne slamming the decision as ‘ridiculous’ and saying host teams have the right to extract the best out of home conditions.

Warne expressed his displeasure at the post-match media conference on Monday, stating that never in these four years were they instructed on which surface to use. The Royals have always preferred a slowish track compared to the one selected by curator Venkat Sundaram.

The BCCI tried to douse the fire later in the day after fingers were pointed at CSK, owned by India Cements supremo and BCCI secretary N Srinivasan.

IPL chairman Chirayu Amin issued a release saying it was the curator, in consultation with the BCCI’s Ground and Pitches Committee, who decides the playing surface and there was nothing sinister about the change of pitch at Jaipur.

“The BCCI would like to confirm that its Ground and Pitches Committee sent recommendations for ground and pitch preparation to all host associations before the start of the IPL season. Included in the same was the advice that the pitches should have good pace and consistent bounce,” the release said. “The committee members have visited a number of the IPL venues both before and, where necessary, during the season, and made appropriate recommendations, the priority being to ensure competitive and quality cricket,” it said.

In his statement, Amin also rubbished the concept that the home team was allowed to take a call on the playing strip.

“Neither of the playing teams has a choice of the wicket, on which to play the game. The BCCI wishes to clarify that the wicket used in the match between Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, played at Jaipur  was as per the decision of the curator and the Ground and Pitches Committee. This decision was taken in the best interests of the game.”

Some of the franchise owners have been vocal about how CSK has been ‘flouting norms’ and the sources in the Chennai camp defended the decision, saying, “It was purely a BCCI decision to change the pitch and we had no say in it.”

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