Sports

SL complain ICC of favouritism

It is not sour grapes that we are complaining. But it is very unfair on the part of the ICC that they prepare one type of wicket for certain teams and another type for others, says former fast-bowling ace, Ashantha De Mel

Sri Lanka team manager Ashantha De Mel has complained to the ICC about the “unfair” pitches he feels Sri Lanka have had to play their matches on, as well as the less-than-ideal training facilities and accommodation. The ICC has strongly denied the accusation that there has been favouritism.

Although their two most-recent matches were washouts in Bristol, Sri Lanka had begun the tournament on two green decks in Cardiff, where they lost to New Zealand and narrowly beat Afghanistan. In the approach to their match against Australia at The Oval – a venue that has seen high-scoring games thus far – De Mel believes Sri Lanka have been saddled with another green track. As seaming conditions will ostensibly aid Australia, De Mel is unhappy.

“What we have found out is that for the four matches we have played so far at Cardiff and Bristol, the ICC has prepared a green pitch,” he told Daily News. “At the same venues, the other countries have played on pitches that are brown and favourable for high scoring.

“The pitch being prepared for our match against Australia on Saturday here at The Oval is green. It is not sour grapes that we are complaining. But it is very unfair on the part of the ICC that they prepare one type of wicket for certain teams and another type for others.”

There have been other inconveniences too, according to de Mel, which he said he has officially brought to the ICC’s notice.

“Even the practice facilities provided at Cardiff were unsatisfactory. Instead of three nets they gave us only two, and the hotel we were put up at Bristol did not have a swimming pool, which is very essential for every team – for the fast bowlers, especially, to relax their muscles after practice,” he said. “The hotels that Pakistan and Bangladesh were put up at Bristol had swimming pools.

“We wrote to the ICC listing all these shortcomings four days ago but so far we have not had any response from them. We will continue to write to them until we get a reply.”

The ICC has since provided an official response, however, pointing out that pitches are overseen by an independent advisor.

“We employ an independent pitch advisor to work with the host curators at all ICC events and the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 is no different,” an even spokesperson said. “We are happy with the wickets that have been produced across the event so far in English conditions.

“As part of the four-year planning process to deliver this event, we have liaised with all teams to ensure they are happy with their set up and are available to work with them should any issues arise that have not been previously anticipated. At the heart of our planning is the philosophy that all ten teams are treated equally to enable them to have the best possible preparation for the event.”

(Cricinfo)