In the opening match of the 2023 World Cup, the state of the outfield at the HPCA stadium in Dharamsala was questioned once more. Even before the game, the outfield had been uneven and lacking in grass cover, which almost caused an accident on Saturday. Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman from Afghanistan tried to perform a deep backward square leg dive but ended up locking his knee into the hard ground and falling awkwardly as some muck sprang up on contact.
According to a manager from the Afghanistan squad, the location isn't suitable for international cricket in its current state. It is sad to behold, I agree. Although it is a lovely setting for cricket, the outfield is not yet suitable for international competition. Not good. It is currently not favorable for international cricket. It's not ready right now, maybe because of the weather," he replied.
"The curator reports that it has rained a lot, but if it keeps up, someone will suffer an injury on the ground. Everyone dislikes diving or sliding, but in cricket, you should be permitted to do so, he said.
The outfield has been scrutinized before, and not just now. Due to 'lack of grass density' in the outfield, the third Test match between Australia and India earlier this year was moved outside. A fungal infection on the outfield was reportedly discovered in mid-September and needed to be treated right afterwards.
Jonathan Trott, the head coach of Afghanistan, said Mujeeb was fortunate to avoid suffering a catastrophic injury since the diving circumstances made it unclear if players could dive.
In the news conference following the game, Trott commented, "If you've got guys apprehensive of whether they can dive... "Players are instructed and encouraged to improve their fielding in cricket, and this is evident all around the world. When athletes are concerned about being hurt, it's a miracle Mujeeb didn't suffer a catastrophic knee injury near the end.
Yes, he certainly shouldn't have dived with his knee, but I believe Devon Conway, a New Zealander, did it earlier. It's something the organizers should consider. I'm not at all blaming anyone for it, but it's something to watch out for in the future," he remarked.
The following game at this location will take place in just two days between Bangladesh and England, then on October 22 India will face New Zealand here. It is unclear if any steps will be done that would have the impact of removing matches from the venue.