Manchester: Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar Saturday said ECB’s lack of preparation for rain is “totally unacceptable” and ICC should punish the hosts if the much-anticipated India vs Pakistan World cup match is washed out here Sunday.
Three matches so far have been abandoned without a ball being a bowled, including India’s last match against New Zealand, while one game had no result, the most in any World Cup so far and there are predictions that rain may play spoilsport again at Old Trafford on Sunday.
“Well, ECB (is responsible). ECB is the one that runs the game here. The Lancashire County Cricket Club comes under its jurisdiction. So it’s the ECB’s responsibility,” Gavaskar was quoted as saying by ‘India Today’. “I also believe the ICC needs to tell the ECB now ‘the game hasn’t taken place because of negligence from your part. So you will not get that guaranteed USD 750,000. ECB gets USD 750,000 irrespective of whether a ball is bowled or not. That should not be the case. If the game doesn’t start because of this, I don’t think the ICC should be giving ECB money.”
“I hope people who have been trying to talk things about India and not giving India their share of the money, now look at this and put their foot down and show by example that what is good for one, should be good for everybody,” Gavaskar added.
Gavaskar questioned why England didn’t have those extra covers on the ground, considering the rain predictions. “Terrible (ground not covered on Saturday). Unacceptable. This is a big tournament. You know the conditions in England and not to have that (extra covers) is absolutely unacceptable in my view,” he said.
“In a country like the West Indies, or in some parts of India where it hardly rains, you can understand grounds not being fully covered. However, Kolkata has got it done. Sri Lanka has it, has covers all over the ground. “Why can’t England? England often tells other countries what they should be doing in cricket. England should be the one that should have it because it rains and rains regularly. You can’t have a situation where thousands of people come from different parts of the world and sit here and the game does not start,” Gavaskar said.
Talking about Sunday’s match, Gavaskar said Pakistan will be under pressure to win to keep their campaign alive. India are unbeaten so far, while Pakistan has just one win in four games. “It’s a must-win game for them. If they don’t win, it’ll be very tough,” Gavaskar was quoted as saying in the ICC website.
“The fact it’s an old rivalry means it will be followed closely by the people of both countries, but Pakistan have had a bit of a stumble so far so there’s probably a bit more pressure on them. If it’s a proper 50-overs game I think India has the strength to win. But if it gets truncated, if it’s a game that gets reduced to 30 overs or less, anything can happen.”
Gavaskar, a member of the 1983 World Cup winning Indian team, described England as favourites to win the World Cup. “My favourites for the last three years have always been England,” he said. “Their opening batting and their bowling attack have been fantastic, but I think more than anything else it’s the leadership they’ve got. I think they should’ve won the Champions Trophy two years ago as well, but sometimes when it comes to the knockout stages you have one bad day and you are out of the tournament. But the way England have been playing and the way they have recovered after losing to Pakistan doesn’t bode too well for the other teams.”