There is a bit of uncertainty about the venue for the fifth ODI encounter between India and New Zealand. Although it was planned initially to be hosted in Visakhapatnam due to concerns over the pitch the venue might be shifted to an alternate location. The problems in the Vizag pitch came out for the first time during the Ranji Trophy game between Assam and Rajasthan held on October 13. This Ranji match got over inside three days. On the third day of the match, the Vizag pitch behaved unusually and saw 17 wickets tumbling down. This was like an up-and-down pitch where the ball occasionally shoots up and sometimes keeps as low the ankle. This was said by the Assam coach Sunil Joshi. After a proper inspection on Wednesday if the surface is not proved to be fit then the venue might be shifted.
G Gangaraju who is the secretary of the Andhra cricket association said that there are problems in the newly laid track of Vizag. He considered the rains to be the main culprit for the inadequate preparation.
Gangaraju in an interview to the Indian Express said that the Vizag pitch was laid four months earlier but due to the rains they could not do it properly. He further added that the visiting curator /inspector of BCCI will make a final call on the pitch.
MV Sridhar, general manager, cricket operations of the BCCI, is scheduled to inspect the BCCI pitch. The coach of Assam, a former Karnataka and an India player anticipated trouble from this pitch on the eve of the game. The Assam coach said that when he had walked onto the centre square he found the entire area to be “damp”. Joshi said that the curators of the Vizag pitch had prepared the pitch for the ODI at the end of the month.
Joshi considered this as one of the reasons which affected their match adversely. According to Joshi because of heavy watering the pitch held up for the first two days of their match but on the third the pitch showed its tantrums by throwing up a variable bounce. Joshi felt that because of this pitch behaviour 17 wickets fell in quick succession on the third day and 11 out 17 wickets were LBW. He said that the Vizag pitch was definitely poor in quality. The ODI pitch is just adjacent to the pitch they played on and he predicted it would be no better.
The BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke said that he is not aware of the complete details and added that there won’t be any problem for BCCI to find another alternative venue in case of any eventuality.
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