NEW YORK: The pitches used in the T20 World Cup matches played in New York have not been up to standard and ground staff are working on remedying them for the rest of the tournament, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Thursday.

The temporary Nassau County International Cricket Stadium has hosted two games so far, both of which were low-scoring encounters due to the nature of the drop-in pitch which has made batting extremely difficult due to the movement and bounce.

Fans expecting a run-fest were left disappointed when Sri Lanka was bowled out for 77 — their lowest-ever score — against South Africa while India bowled out Ireland for 96 in Wednesday’s one-sided contest.

“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 ICC said in a statement.

“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.”

The stadium is set to host six more matches, including Sunday’s blockbuster game between arch-rivals India and Pakistan.

India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour described it as a “challenging wicket” having also played a warm-up match at the venue. “It is what it is. We need to find a way to deal with it and I think we have enough skills in the team and enough experience in the team to deal with it,” he said.

Ireland coach Heinrich Malan said the surface didn’t live up to expectations after pundits slammed it as “dangerous.” India won the Group ‘A’ game by eight wickets after they bowled Ireland out for just 96.

“When you play the game you need a really good surface or as good as surfaces you can get and unfortunately what we’ve seen over the last couple games just doesn’t necessarily live up to that. So hopefully, over the next day or so it can hopefully flatten out a little bit and we can see some good cricket come Friday,” he said.

“I think we just want to see good cricket, don’t we? It’s the pinnacle of our event and it doesn’t have to be 200 play all the time, it just needs to be an equal contest and I think if you look at today it is debatable where that was,” said Malan.

Andy Flower, the former Zimbabwe player and ex-England team director, told ESPNCricinfo that he felt the surface was not up to scratch. “I’ve got to say that is not a good surface to play an international match on. It’s bordering on dangerous,” said Flower.

“You saw the ball bouncing from a length both ways, so skidding low occasionally but in the main bouncing unusually high and striking people on the thumb, on the gloves, on the helmet and making life very, very difficult for any batsman,” he added.

Published in Dawn, June 7th, 2024

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