Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), the premier unit of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) may not have had an opportunity to host an India game in the ongoing World T20 tournament.
The argument put forth for this lopsided allocation of venues was that the Wankhede Stadium would play host to the tournament’s semi-final on March 31.
This didn’t sit well with enthusiasts who have grown up in the belief that Mumbai is the cricketing capital of India. Be that as it may, Mumbai now have to ensure a good, fair pitch is rolled out for Thursday’s blockbuster. Without getting into who was right — Team Director Ravi Shastri and curator Sudhir Naik in their reported argument over the batsmen-friendly Wankhede pitch for the India vs South Africa one-day international, the October 2015 incident was an ugly one which involved two former Mumbai captains.
All three games held at the Wankhede Stadium so far (England vs West Indies on March 16, England vs South Africa on March 18, and Afghanistan vs South Africa on March 20) have been tall-scoring encounters. There is enough indication that Mumbai has provided batting paradises and though the fabric of Twenty20 cricket is woven in runs, that is not what the public should only see. Pitches heavily tilted towards batsmen not only provide an insipid contest, they also insult the variety of skills cricket lends itself to. Meanwhile, a lot of the games have seen some riveting contests, caused not only by some sparkling cricket but also through some challenging surfaces. How refreshing to see so many spinners jumping in delight after deceiving batsmen with guile and craft.
Of course, square turners like the one dished out at Nagpur, where India were bowled out for 79 to hand New Zealand a 47-run win are not ideal as well. But overall, India has done well to disallow too much talk about unfair pitches among teams. The job is not over though and hopefully this week, the most critical phase of the tournament will see exciting cricketing battles fought out on a level playing field.