Former South African test cricketer HD Ackerman says the ICC still has their work cut out for them amid controversy and criticism surrounding the New York playing surface. 

The tournament has been marred by criticisms of the playing surfaces, particularly in New York. 

While players and coaching staff have yet to criticise the pitches, fans and former players have slammed the pitch and called for the remaining fixtures to be moved to Florida or Texas. 

Two matches – India vs Ireland and Sri Lanka vs South Africa, have taken place at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, both of which have been low-scoring and unpredictable.

Ackerman told SportFM the pitches are preventing the ICC from being able to sell the spectacle they had hoped to sell to attract the US market.

“On social media, you have a lot of traditionists… out there that are saying that it’s about time that the bowlers had a say,” he said. 

“Unfortunately, when you’re trying to attract a new audience in the United States of America, they want to see action.  

“While this might be a tough time for the bowlers, I don’t think it’s selling the product particularly well to try and grab that new audience that the ICC is after. 

“They’ve got their work cut out. They’ve got to sort it out pretty quickly.” 

With the eagerly-anticipated clash between India vs Pakistan scheduled in New York, the ICC has since promised to look into the issues surrounding the pitch and look to rectify them. 

The clash between the two bitter rivals is expected to attract a capacity crowd with 32,000 fans in the stands. 

Ackerman says most interest in the tournament comes from the diaspora of cricketing nations, with the ICC aware of this fact. 

“When children are not born into a cricketing environment and it’s a baseball environment or a basketball environment, it’s going to be very difficult to grab their attention,” he said.

“While the ICC certainly know that there’s a massive expat community in the United States, the idea is to try and create a new fan base to get Americans to enjoy cricket. 

“There’s no doubt that they would like T20. I honestly have little doubt about that. If they saw some high-scoring games where balls are flying off the ground, it would grab their attention pretty quickly.  

“This is a massive opportunity for cricket and at the moment, I just don’t think it’s grabbing it. It is early days in the competition.”

As host nation, the United States produced one of the greatest upsets in world cricket after beating Pakistan by five runs in the super over overnight. 

This catapulted the USA to the top of their group with two wins to their name, also beating Canada on Sunday in the tournament opener. 

However, despite having such close games of cricket, Ackerman says while the pitches have a say, the United States has been playing some good cricket.  

“(It was) not a high-scoring game with 155. It ends up being tied and then a super over,” he said.

“Just going back to the surfaces, the worse the pitches, the closer the teams get to each other. The better the pitches, your top teams are just going to wipe the floor with them. 

“When they (Pakistan) have a bad day, they have a bad day. So I wouldn’t go as far as to say this is the worst in their history. The United States has played some nice cricket.”

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