Vishakapatnam is in danger of losing the fifth ODI between India and New Zealand as the match could be shifted to another venue due to the raising concerns over the pitch. It was also confirmed that a pitch inspection will be carried out later today and if the wicket is deemed unfit to play on, Vizag will lose the final ODI which is scheduled to take place on October 29. BCCI’s general manager of cricket operations, MV Sridhar will choose a pitch curator and send him for inspection.
The wicket at the Dr. YSR Rajasekhara Reddy ADA-VDCA cricket stadium was relaid four months back and the newly relaid wicket had invariable bounce. This is evident by the fact that the Ranji game between Assam and Rajasthan at the venue that got over inside the first three days and as saw as many as 17 wickets (11 LBWs) fell on on day 3, with the ball occasionally shooting through as low as ankle high.
The secretary of Andhra Cricket Association, G Gangaraju confessed that there were problems with the pitch as it was a newly re-laid track. He also blamed the rains for the inadequate preparation.
While speaking to the Indian Express, Gangaraju said,“the pitch was re-laid four months back but because of the rains they couldn’t prepare it properly. The BCCI would be sending a curator/inspector, likely on Wednesday, for inspection and he will decide if the pitch is good enough to host the fifth ODI.”
BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke didn’t have the full details about the issue but confirmed that there won’t be a problem in finding an alternate venue as the board has listed few stand-by venues during the planning stage in case of any emergency. “I’m not aware of the development. But we have many venues as stand-bys. We put at least five-six venues in the stand-by list at the planning stage. So it won’t be a problem at all,” Shirke said.
If the fifth ODI is moved out of Vizag, it will be a huge blow for the ACA as the venue’s rights for hosting the second Test between India and England from November 17 will be under scrutiny.
India are leading New Zealand in the five-match ODI series after an easy 6-wicket win over the visitors in the first ODI at Dharamsala. The second ODI will take place at the historic Ferozshah Kotla in New Delhi on October 20 (tomorrow).