World Cup final: ICC pitch consultant Atkinson goes back, BCCI monitors preparations
Atkinson hasn't exactly been a favourite with the BCCI after accusing India of changing the track for the India-New Zealand semi-final
International Cricket Council (ICC) pitch consultant Andy Atkinson's future was a question mark floating around as the burly New Zealander was nowhere to be seen during pitch preparation 48 hours ahead of the World Cup final between India and Australia.
It is now learned that Atkinson had already left the country as his assignment is over. "Andy's assignment is over and he has gone back. Don't try to find controversy where there is none. Nowhere is it written that the ICC pitch consultant needs to be present before the final," a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) source told PTI on condition of anonymity.
Atkinson hasn't exactly been a favourite with the BCCI top brass after accusing host nation India of changing the track for the semi-final between India and New Zealand from a fresh to a used one.
However, the ICC later sent a clarification that there is no rule of holding knock-out matches on a fresh track and Atkinson was apprised of the development in advance.
On Friday, the two senior BCCI chiefs of ground staff Ashish Bhowmick and his second in command Taposh Chatterjee, along with former India seamer and BCCI GM (domestic cricket) Abbey Kuruvilla, closely monitored the pitch preparations for the mega final on Sunday.
It couldn't be confirmed if the track used for the final is used or fresh, but the two senior curators and Kuruvilla monitored the use of a heavy roller on the designated 22 yards.
"If a heavy roller is being used on a black soil strip then the idea is to create a slow batting track where you can get a big score but you can't possibly hit consistently through the line. So 315 could be a defendable score as batting second will be difficult," a Gujarat state association curator explained.
Indian skipper Rohit Sharma along with first team regulars KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja had an extensive net session, with reserve players Ishan Kishan, Ravichandran Ashwin and Prasidh Krishna for company.
As it has been the custom, Rohit and Dravid spent a considerable amount of time looking at the track and also had extensive discussions with Bhowmick and Chatterjee.