New York strip tease has batsmen on the hop

New York: The scores, they are a changing… rock star Bob Dylan may well be tempted to tweak the lines of his famous number if he were commissioned to write a song on the ongoing T20 World Cup.

The drop-in pitch has been a big let down so far with teams batting first struggling to reach the 100-run mark. In the two matches played at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium here, Sri Lanka and Ireland were bowled out for 77 and 96 against South Africa and India respectively. The uneven bounce arising out of cracks on the wicket has left the batsmen dancing, and all cracked up.

Both winners — South Africa and India — found the lowly targets not easy to chase. India captain Rohit Sharma in fact took a hit on the bicep while batting and had to retire hurt after making a not-so-fine 52 on Wednesday. He looks good though, and should be fine for Sunday’s crucial game against Pakistan.

When his opinion on the pitch was sought after the Ireland game, Indian batting coach Vikram Rathour was stoic. “Trying to control the controllables,” he said.

“It was a challenging wicket as far as batting is concerned. We need to find a way to deal with it and I think we have enough skills and experience in the team to do that. We should be fine,” he assured.

Is the risk of injuries to batsmen a concern? “We have good batters who can bat well on any kind of surface. I think that has been our strength for many, many years. I think we can adapt really well to different conditions, and I think on this surface you really need to adapt well and take it head-on and not worry about it too much,” Rathour was non-committal.

Asked if these were ideal conditions to promote cricket in new territories, the former international said: “I am sure it has been challenging for the curators or for ICC to create something here in the past 6-7 months or whatever time they have taken. It was never going to be easy. But it is exciting to be at a place like USA… we can see there’s a lot of excitement. We’re meeting a lot of people who are really excited because cricket has come to the USA or New York for the first time.”

What could be an ideal total in such conditions? “At one stage, we were talking about if we can get to 130-140 and back that up in the execution of our skills from a bowling point of view,” said Ireland coach Heinrich Malan.

Rathour’s reply to the question of runs was different. “As many as we can get. I’m not going to put any number to that. We need to bat well and maximise whatever we can get,” he said in the context of the match against Pakistan.

The ICC acknowledged the pitch glitch. On Thursday afternoon it released a statement that read: “T20 Inc and the ICC recognise that the pitches used so far at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium have not played as consistently as we would have all wanted. The world-class grounds team have been working hard since the conclusion of yesterday’s game to remedy the situation and deliver the best possible surfaces for the remaining matches.“

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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