New York pitch at T20 World Cup 2024: Dangerous, unplayable and sub-standard

T20 World Cup 2024: The New York pitch has been labeled "shocking" and "borderline dangerous" after several batsmen from both sides sustained injuries during India's 8-wicket win over Ireland on Wednesday. India captain Rohit Sharma retired hurt with a shoulder injury caused by a short ball from Josh Little. Rishabh Pant also required treatment after being struck on the arm by a delivery that reared up off a length.
New York pitch at T20 World Cup 2024: Dangerous, unplayable and sub-standard
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USA's introduction to international cricket is turning out to be far from ideal as the pitches they have curated in New York have come under heavy scanner, with multiple cricketing personalities speaking out against their unpredictable and subpar nature. The newly constructed Nassau County Stadium in New York, hosting its inaugural international matches, has been called a sub-standard pitch condition, leaving players and commentators questioning the suitability of the venue for high-profile matches.

India's T20 World Cup 2024 opener against Ireland on Wednesday saw the Men in Blue chase down a modest target of 97 runs to win by 8 wickets in the 13th over. The focus, however, was less on the victory and more on the dangerous and inconsistent pitch conditions that marred the game. The stadium's second match as a T20I venue mirrored its first: low-scoring and brutal. Two days after South Africa bowled Sri Lanka out for 77, India bowled Ireland out for 96. A different strip was used for this game, but the bounce was just as inconsistent, and batting was just as difficult, if not outright dangerous.

During Ireland's innings, deliveries from Indian pacers Arshdeep Singh and Mohammed Siraj ranged from head-height bouncers to grubbers that barely reached wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant. This unpredictable behavior made it nearly impossible for batsmen to settle in and play their natural game. Paul Stirling fell victim to a sharply rising delivery, resulting in a top edge that was easily caught. Harry Tector was hit on the gloves by an Arshdeep bouncer, forcing him to shake off the pain before being dismissed by a Jasprit Bumrah delivery that took an inside edge onto his helmet. The pitch's variability continued to trouble batsmen throughout the innings, with Arshdeep's bouncer in the 16th over flying over Benjamin White's head and resulting in a no-ball for excessive bouncers.

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New York pitch at T20 World Cup 2024: Dangerous, unplayable and sub-standard

The pitch's dangerous nature was further highlighted when Indian captain Rohit Sharma was forced to leave the field after sustaining a blow to his upper arm, delivered by pacer Josh Little, leading to concerns among fans and team management. To add to the drama, Rishabh Pant injured his elbow in the 11th over, this time from Josh Little's delivery. Pant received quick treatment but valiantly resumed his innings, scoring a winning six. Detailed updates on both players' ailments are expected. These incidents have raised serious concerns about player safety on this pitch.

It is important to note that the Nassau County pitch is a drop-in surface, with four main pitches and six drop-in surfaces prepared in Adelaide, shipped to Florida and then laid in New York for the T20 World Cup. Drop-in pitches often require time to settle, a point noted by commentator Ravi Shastri, who mentioned that the curators have promised improvement over time. However, the current state of the pitch has led to it being described as "tricky" throughout the match.

Ireland's dismissal for 96 marked the second consecutive sub-100 score at the venue, following Sri Lanka's 77 all out against South Africa two days earlier. These low scores are indicative of the challenging batting conditions presented by the pitch. The outfield at Nassau County Stadium has also been criticized. Despite attempts to improve it, the grass trim did little to prevent the ball from stopping abruptly, with puffs of sand visible when the ball ran along the surface.

Michael Vaughan and Andy Flower voiced strong disapproval over the condition of the pitch at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium during the T20 World Cup match between India and Ireland.

"I've got to say that is not a good surface to play an international match on," said former England coach Andy Flower on ESPNCricinfo. "It is bordering on dangerous. You see the ball bouncing on a length both ways so skidding low occasion but in the main bouncing unusually high and striking people on thumb, gloves and helmet and making life very very difficult for any batsman."

Michael Vaughan posted on X: "Shocking surface." He later added, "Trying to sell the game in the States is great... love it, but for players to have to play on this substandard surface in New York is unacceptable. You work so hard to make it to the World Cup, then have to play on this."

Concerns have risen about player safety, especially with India and Pakistan, who boast some of the quickest bowlers in the world, playing at Eisenhower Park on Sunday. The unpredictable bounce of the pitch could pose a risk of injury to batsmen. On Wednesday, some balls struck batsmen on the arm, gloves, and head, while others bounced twice before reaching the keeper.

Six of the ten strips on the drop-in square were prepared in Adelaide, shipped to Florida, and then laid in New York. Damien Hough, the groundsman at the Adelaide Oval, has been brought in by the ICC to oversee the pitch preparation. The square is set to host four games in eight days, including the India-Pakistan sell-out match at the pop-up ground. Additionally, the outfield is very sandy, raising concerns about injuries from diving or sliding on the grass.

Source: India Today

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