Mumbai willing to forego Champions Trophy final after dusty wicket
by Cricket Archive Staff Reporter

Ground:Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai
Player:BC Lara, GC Smith
Event:ICC Champions Trophy 2006/07

DateLine: 18th October 2006


The International Cricket Council will be requested to shift the Champions Trophy final from the Brabourne stadium in Mumbai if the wicket does not improve, a senior official said on Tuesday.


Cricket Club of India (CCI) president Raj Singh Dungarpur, whose club oversees the Brabourne stadium, said he was unhappy at the dusty wicket that had been laid out for the matches.


"With the monsoon having just ended, our staff did not get enough time to prepare good wickets for the tournament," Dungarpur told reporters. "We will see how the wicket behaves on Wednesday when Australia plays the West Indies. If it still has low bounce, I will put my hands up. I will ask the ICC to shift the final, scheduled to be held here on November 5, to some other venue."


The wickets for the two matches played so far at the Brabourne stadium have been ridiculed by the teams for its dry, dusty surface which hampered strokeplay.


Brian Lara's West Indies could only muster 80 runs against Sri Lanka on Saturday and on Monday South African captain Graeme Smith slammed the pitch after his team went down to New Zealand by 87 runs. "The pitch broke up, the ball turned a hell of a lot. I don't think the pitches are going to provide 100 overs of good cricket," said Smith, whose side is ranked second behind Australia in the one-day game.


New Zealand, who were restricted to 195, hit back to bowl South Africa out for 108 in 34.1 overs as the ball kept low and spun alarmingly.


"We take pride in the wickets we have prepared in the past at the Brabourne stadium," Dungarpur said. "So it pains me to see it behave like this. I can't blame anyone. My staff has tried its best to make a sporting wicket in the short time available. But it has not worked." The Brabourne stadium hosted Test cricket till 1972-73 till the Mumbai Cricket Association built its own Wankhede stadium nearby and began holding international matches there from 1974-75.


The Wankhede stadium was ruled out as a venue for the Champions Trophy because of the ICC's regulations that want a "clean" stadium free of private advertising commitments.


That was the reason why some of the best cricket stadia in India, like the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Chepauk in Chennai and the Chinaswamy stadium in Bangalore were also left out.


The Champions Trophy matches are being held in three other venues besides the Brabourne stadium - the Sawai Man Singh stadium in Jaipur, the Motera stadium in Ahmedabad and the Punjab Cricket Association ground in Mohali.


The Brabourne stadium has so far hosted two matches, the final qualifying match between Sri Lanka and the West Indies on Oct 14 and the opening group B match between New Zealand and South Africa on Monday.


It is also due to host another group B game between New Zealand and Sri Lanka on Friday after Wednesday's group A clash between Australia and the West Indies.