Rajasthan Royals skipper Shane Warne was baffled by instructions – issued by an unknown source – for the Jaipur outfit to play their match against Chennai Super Kings on a different wicket to that which was originally planned.
Warne’s side lost the match by 63 runs on Monday as Chennai racked up 196 for three on an excellent batting wicket – a score the Royals never came close to matching.
There was new controversy however, after Rajasthan were told that they would have to play on a different pitch to the one that they had picked out with the groundsman prior to the game.
“In the past four years we have never been told to play on any particular wicket. It is ridiculous to have instructions for the pitch,” fumed Warne afterwards.
“I have no idea from where the instructions came. But never before have there been such things going on. It is the right of every team to extract the best out of home conditions.
“The wickets for earlier matches were fantastic. If you had been watching earlier matches here you can make out easily that today’s wicket was different. It has come as a shock and surprise that we were being instructed to play on a certain kind of wicket.”
With nobody putting their hand up to confirm that they ordered the change of pitch, it is suspected that it had something to do with the previous controversy at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium when Mumbai were restricted to 94 for eight on a slow wicket.
That led to unofficial complaints over the nature of the pitch from the Mumbai franchise.
Nevertheless Warne was eager to point out that the pitch was not the reason why Rajasthan lost to the Super Kings on Monday.
“I don’t want that the headlines tomorrow to say that Shane Warne blames the pitch because it was same for both teams and I concede that we were outplayed. We were up against a side which was pumped and eager to win,” he said.
Asked about the alleged instructions for the pitch, Chennai coach Stephen Fleming said he knew nothing about it.
“Perhaps it is matter of the IPL level, but all I can say is that we played on the pitch which was offered to us. But we are happy with the way we played. It will give us more strength in the crunch games ahead,” Fleming said. Cricket365