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WTC 2023 FINAL

The Oval will have two pitches prepared © Getty

In the lead-up to the World Test Championship (WTC) final between India and Australia, the greenness of the Oval wicket has sparked discussions. However, it has come to light that the International Cricket Council (ICC) has prepared not one but two pitches for the one-off match, scheduled to begin on Wednesday (June 7). This precautionary measure by the ICC is not due to any unknown or controversial reasons but rather as a backup plan for any unexpected circumstances.

The ICC’s decision to prepare two pitches is driven by an abundance of caution, given the ongoing oil protest and disruptions in London. With concerns over possible intrusions at the South London ground, the world body aims to be prepared for any eventuality. In line with these measures, the ICC has also introduced alterations to the playing conditions, including a new clause (6.4) that addresses the unlikely scenario of pitch damage before or during the Test. Both teams have been duly informed about this potential, albeit unlikely, danger while additional security measures are being taken for the match.

While not visibly apparent, all stakeholders involved in the game are aware of the alternative provision, often referred to as ‘Plan B’. Owing to the sensitive nature of the matter, the authorities are unwilling to comment.

A source close to the development, however, emphasized the extra caution being exercised since it is a one-match championship final. “We are preparing for all eventualities to ensure a conclusive outcome for the final,” shared a local source well-versed in the matter. Below are the points of the relevant new clause.

Clause 6.4: Changing the Pitch

6.4.1: If the on-field umpires determine that it is unsafe or unreasonable to continue play on the match pitch, they shall halt the game and immediately inform the ICC match referee.

6.4.2: The on-field umpires and ICC match referee will consult with both captains.

6.4.3: If the captains agree to resume play, the game will recommence.

6.4.4: If the decision is not to resume play, the on-field umpires, in consultation with the ICC match referee, will assess whether the existing pitch can be repaired and the match can resume from the point it was stopped. The ICC match referee must consider whether this repair would unfairly advantage either side, given the play that had already taken place on the dangerous pitch.

6.4.5: If the decision is that the existing pitch cannot be repaired, the ICC match referee will collaborate with the ICC to explore options for the match to continue on another pitch at the same venue, provided the ICC is satisfied that the new pitch meets the required Test standard.

6.4.6: If it is not feasible to resume the match on another pitch at the same venue on any scheduled day of the match (including the reserve day), the match will be abandoned (no result).

6.4.7: Throughout the decision-making processes mentioned above, the ICC match referee will keep both captains and the head of the ground authority informed. The head of the ground authority will ensure appropriate and timely public announcements are made.

© Cricbuzz

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