“Laughable”: R Ashwin Sums Up ‘Pitch Swapping’ Allegations At India’s World Cup Semi-finals

Ace Indian cricket team spinner Ravichandran Ashwin laughed off the media reports that surfaced on the day of India’s Cricket World Cup semifinal against New Zealand in Mumbai claiming that the pitch for the contest was changed at the behest of the hosts. “Journalists from other countries comment that the pictures have been changed and so on but it is clearly laughable. India is a unique country, different parts of the country have different soils,” he said.

“Ahmedabad in itself has more than 3-4 varieties of soil in the square so, what George Bailey said regarding the pitch made me spellbound, but Pat Cummins‘ execution needs to be applauded,” he added.

Ashwin said he had not watched a fast bowler bowl to a conventional field for an off-spinner, which Pat Cummins executed perfectly against India in the final.

“In the last 4-5 games leading up to the final, almost 50 per cent of the balls were cutters. In the final, he had a four–five (four on off, five on leg) field like an off-spinner,” Ashwin observed.

“He bowled only three balls in the 6 meter mark towards the stumps in the entire 10-over spell. He knocked off crucial wickets in the final — a game breaking spell by Pat Cummins apart from calling the toss right,” said Ashwin, while praising the Australian camp for persisting with Travis Head and giving him full backing.

Ashwin said India No 4 Shreyas Iyer is someone who chases excellence and is a champion batter in-making for the country.

“Batting against spin and taking them down is Shreyas’ specialty and he is a standout performer. Chasing excellence is a rare commodity in sports. If somebody does something unique, people, instead of appreciating it, tell them not to do it,” Ashwin said.

“What I love about Shreyas is that he chases excellence, he took a note to master the pull shot and worked on it. He got out on it but look at the number of balls he put away to the boundary?” “Balls were sent to the midwicket region and behind square, which shows he is ready for that ball. He hit fast bowlers above mid off, definitely the sign of a champion batter developing for India,” Ashwin said.

For taking most wickets in the World Cup (24) in only seven matches, Ashwin praised India pacer Mohammed Shami.

“There is something in mythology called Midas touch. Like Midas, Shami had the golden touch with him. Whenever he bowled, there was a wicket. I don’t remember how many times as first ball in a spell was a wicket (taking one) in this tournament,” Ashwin said.

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