Concerns Rise Over Pitch Quality as Rohit Sharma Recovers Ahead of Pakistan Clash
Concerns Rise Over Pitch Quality as Rohit Sharma Recovers Ahead of Pakistan Clash

The condition of the drop-in pitch at Nassau County Ground in New York has sparked controversy during the ongoing T20 World Cup, overshadowing India's victory over Ireland. Rohit Sharma, who suffered a bruised bicep during the match, is expected to recover in time for India's next game against Pakistan on Sunday. The nature of the pitch, characterized by dangerous cracks and unpredictable bounce, has drawn criticism from former players and pundits alike.

India began their campaign with a convincing eight-wicket win against Ireland, who were bowled out for a meager 96 runs in just 16 overs. Rohit Sharma, who scored a crucial half-century, was struck on the right bicep by a delivery from pacer Josh Little and had to retire hurt. The incident has raised concerns about player safety on the uneven pitch.

"The injury isn't serious. Rohit himself mentioned it's a bit sore. He should be fit for the Pakistan game on Sunday as of now," a senior BCCI source told PTI on condition of anonymity. "There are two practice sessions before that, which will help him prepare."

In addition to Rohit's injury scare, the drop-in pitch brought from Adelaide for the World Cup has faced severe criticism. Former Indian cricketer and T20 World Cup hero Irfan Pathan was vocal about his concerns, labeling the pitch as unsafe.

"We want to promote cricket in America, but this pitch is not suitable for international matches. If such a pitch were in India, matches wouldn't be played there for a long time," Pathan said on Star Sports.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan also expressed his disappointment on social media, calling the pitch sub-standard and unacceptable for an event like the World Cup.

Despite the criticism, the ICC has not responded officially. The Indian team management is unlikely to file a complaint, although several stakeholders have expressed displeasure about the pitch's condition.

"It's a challenging wicket for batting, but this is what we have. We need to find ways to deal with it," said India's batting coach Vikram Rathour in a post-match press conference.

Sources who inspected the pitch firsthand have described it as "unfit for T20 cricket" and "bordering on dangerous." The track's fresh surface, covered with grass and significant cracks, has led to unpredictable seam movement and uneven bounce.

The ICC's rules mandate a pitch quality assessment after the tournament. If found sub-standard, the pitch's rating could be downgraded. However, the consensus among players and experts is that the current pitch condition is not conducive to international cricket.

While Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant escaped serious injury, Ireland's Harry Tector had to undergo a mandatory concussion test after being hit on the helmet by a delivery from Jasprit Bumrah.

Former Zimbabwe captain and renowned coach Andy Flower joined the chorus of criticism, describing the pitch as "bordering on dangerous" during a discussion on 'ESPNcricinfo's Timeout' show.

Despite the challenges posed by the pitch, the focus now shifts to India's upcoming match against Pakistan, with hopes that the playing surface will not pose undue risks to the players.

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