WTC final, India vs Australia: ICC prepares a back-up pitch as protest cloud looms

The move came in the backdrop of 'Just Stop Oil' protesters, who are campaigning against fossil fuel, disrupting major sports events in the UK


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Photo: BCCI
Photo: BCCI

Published: Wed 14 Jun 2023, 3:36 PM

Last updated: Fri 16 Jun 2023, 1:31 PM

The International Cricket Council (ICC) have prepared two pitches for the World Test Championship (WTC) summit clash between India and Australia, anticipating trouble by a group of environment activists.

The world cricket governing body has also bolstered security measures at The Oval in London, where the high-voltage match began on June 7.

The move came in the backdrop of 'Just Stop Oil' protesters disrupting major sports events in the UK. The group demands that the British government should stop fossil fuel licensing and production.

ICC has reportedly added a new clause (6.4) to deal with a damaged pitch and invaders. In case of a possible pitch invasion, the two on-field umpires will have to decide that whether the situation allows them to continue to proceed with the game on the designated pitch.

The sub-section 6.4.1 also instructs them to inform the match referee about the situation immediately after halting the game. The new rule suggests that if the decision is to not resume play, then umpires will have to decide whether the existing pitch can be prepared so that the game can be restarted from the phase it was stopped.

Just Stop Oil, an activist group that was formed in February 2022, riled up cricket fans last week after holding up the England team bus in London. The team bus, which was on its way to Lord’s, was stopped by the protesters. The incident had taken place ahead of England’s one-off Test match against Ireland. The group had recently halted the world snooker championship and the English Premiership rugby final.

Australia skipper Pat Cummins had recently opened up on the threats posed by the Just Stop Oil group. "It's something we got in the security briefing a couple days ago. I’ve heard that they're aware of it and kind of keeping an eye out. But that’s as much as we’ve heard,” Cummins was quoted as saying by news agency Reuters.

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