Revised Article:

It delights me to read articles that suggest there’s something sinister about India “doctoring” pitches at the World Cup before their semi-final. Similar allegations of home umpires favoring the hosts have been made in the past. Many have agreed with this, and it used to be a practice by every nation. It was common for a host country to subject the tourists to poor conditions, so when the roles were reversed, the tourists would do the same to the hosts. It’s clear that this is not consistent with the spirit of the game. The ICC must be commended for addressing this issue, and it has managed to arrest the decline of the sport better than most other codes. They have been successful in grappling with technology and “neutrality” to bring some accountability and transparency to renew the faith of fans who were feeling disillusioned. However, now the guardians of cricket face a new dilemma. When countries host events and tourists, having “home advantage” is an important privilege. In order to be the best in the world, teams should be able to play outside their comfort zone. But it is a futile ritual to continue leveling allegations at each other about “preparing cooked wickets.” With the global ascendancy of cricket, every nation has been guilty of doing so. What is a neutral wicket, and why should a host nation give up its advantage? The debate about preparing pitches is never-ending. There are many variables involved, such as how many times a heavy/light roller should be used, the curators’ use of water, the degree of bounce and carry, the grip and turn, and how slick the outfield should be. Even when teams play on foreign soil, they tend to base their selections on their experiences during previous tours. This includes deciding the number of spinners/seamers and the batting lineup. The power struggle in cricket has been present for decades, specifically between the Asian subcontinent and the England/Australia/New Zealand camp. While the West Indies and South Africa are considered “outsiders,” it’s no secret that many nations have an allegiance to India. It makes sense, but it’s also a political statement when cricketers run out to the field. The suggestion of replacing traditional pitches with “drop-in” pitches for uniformity within a country was not well-received. Moreover, talk of covered stadiums to negate the need for DLS method results is another story for another time. In conclusion, the debate regarding “cooked” wickets in cricket is likely to persist indefinitely. You can never fully satisfy everyone.

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