Jonathan Trott ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/jonathan-trott-47623), Afghanistan’s head coach, feels Mujeeb Ur Rahman ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/mujeeb-ur-rahman-974109) was lucky to escape without a serious injury after his left knee went into the sandy Dharamsala outfield when he put in a dive during Afghanistan’s six-wicket defeat to Bangladesh on Saturday.
The grass on the outfield was patchy and mossy, and several players on both sides lost their footing in the deep. Mujeeb appeared to jar his knee while diving to stop a Shakib Al Hasan sweep, and Azmat Omarzai ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/azmatullah-omarzai-819429) tumbled over when attempting to save a boundary off what turned out to be the penultimate ball of the match.
India’s third Test against Australia ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/indore-confirmed-as-venue-for-third-india-vs-australia-test-1358680) was moved from Dharamsala to Indore at short notice earlier this year following concerns about the condition of the outfield – which the BCCI blamed the “harsh winter conditions in the region” for – while Indian media outlets reported last month that an ICC inspection team had identified a fungal infection at the ground.
Trott made clear that he did not blame Afghanistan’s heavy defeat on the condition of the outfield, and said it was not his place to “make an assessment” on whether the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium was fit to host games at the World Cup. But he said that it had not helped the spectacle, and suggested that the ICC should look at the quality of outfields across the country.
“If you’ve got players unsure of whether they can dive… we see the product of cricket all around the world where players are taught, encouraged to improve their fielding,” he said. “And when you’ve got players worried about getting injured… I mean, we are lucky Mujeeb hasn’t got a serious knee injury towards the end.
“Yes, he probably shouldn’t have dived with his knee. But we saw the other night [in Ahmedabad], Devon Conway from New Zealand early on as well, so it’s something for them [the organisers] to look at. I’m definitely not putting any blame on that, but that’s something to keep an eye on for the future.”
Mehidy Hasan Miraz ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/mehidy-hasan-miraz-629063), who was named Player of the Match for his 3 for 25 and 57 in 73, said that the outfield had been on the slow side. “The outfield was a little heavy,” he said. “The ball wasn’t travelling a lot. But you can’t blame the outfield… you have to perform in every situation.”
The state of the outfield will be a concern for both Bangladesh and England ahead of their fixture at the same venue on Tuesday. Both sides will be wary of the possibility of losing players to injury, particularly so early in the competition, while Jonny Bairstow and Reece Topley are among the England players who have suffered freak injuries after slipping in the past 18 months.