Renowned Indian commentator Harsha Bhogle opened up about the controversy surrounding the pitch as India take on Australia in the final of the ICC World Cup 2023 in Ahmedabad on Sunday.
It must be noted that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was criticised after it emerged that the India vs New Zealand semi-final in Mumbai was played on a used pitch rather than a freshly-prepared surface.
The pitch for the final will be the same surface as the one on where India beat Pakistan last month. That pitch was rated “average” by the ICC.
However, Bhogle thinks that pitch is the same for both side after India were asked to bat first by Australia in the final.
“So much discussion on the pitch! It is the same for both sides. I think India are happy to bat first. Primary target: Negate one of the best Power Play bowling attack,” Bhogle said.
Bhogle also said that India vs Australia is the greatest rivalry in modern-day cricket.
“This is the greatest rivalry in the modern game. Our countries come closer in trade and human relations but neither will Australia take a backward step nor will India stop looking the opponent in the eye. What an occasion,” he said.
Unbeaten hosts India have won 10 games in a row as they look to clinch a third World Cup title to follow their stunning victory over the West Indies in 1983 at Lord’s and a 2011 home triumph against Sri Lanka in Mumbai.
Virat Kohli heads into the final as the tournament´s top scorer with 711 runs and having set a new record of 50 ODI hundreds in a 70-run semi-final win over New Zealand in Mumbai.
That innings saw the legendary batter break the record of 49 ODI centuries he had shared with retired India great Sachin Tendulkar.
Mohammed Shami, meanwhile, tops the tournament bowling charts with 23 wickets at just 9.13 apiece, despite being left out of the side for the first four games before an injury to Hardik Pandya paved the way for the paceman´s dramatic return.
Australia are bidding for a record-extending sixth World Cup title, with Sunday´s game their eighth appearance in the final.
Australia lost their opening two matches of the tournament, going down by six wickets against India and then suffering a huge 134-run defeat by South Africa.
But they have since won eight games in a row and, worryingly for India, had their revenge over South Africa with a tense three wicket-win in a Kolkata semi-final where Cummins kept his cool in a nervy run-chase.