ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

Kotla pitch fiasco

Kotla on course for international games by September - DDCA

Cricinfo staff

June 30, 2010

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Andy Atkinson oversees renovation work at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, February 16, 2010
Andy Atkinson has reportedly criticised the DDCA for delaying renovation work © AFP

The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) today dismissed speculation that the Feroz Shah Kotla was in danger of losing its World Cup 2011 matches, following concerns raised in ICC pitch consultant Andy Atkinson's report over the remedial measures being carried out at the ground.

"Let me make it clear that there is no such danger for Kotla and the ground would be ready to host international matches by September 1," SP Bansal, the DDCA secretary, told PTI, adding the DDCA was yet to receive a copy of Atkinson's report.

Kotla earned a one-year international ban following the abandonment of an India-Sri Lanka ODI last year due to a sub-standard pitch. In February, Atkinson visited the stadium and suggested remedial measures and he came again earlier in June to monitor the progress. In his report to the ICC, Atkinson reportedly criticised the DDCA for delaying the renovation work, and deviating from the agreed plan without consulting him.

"The renovation of the pitch block and outfield that was scheduled to begin on 19th April, after the last match of the IPL at the ground, was delayed by twenty eight days because the DDCA insisted on playing local matches at the venue completely contrary to the spirit of the agreement recorded in my report from the venue on 14th- 5th February," Atkinson was quoted in Hindustan Times. Atkinson had also recommended chemical methods to get rid of weeds, but was surprised to find large areas of the ground had been excavated for the purpose, leaving craters in the outfield.

"It is crucial that any deviation from the agreed programme is discussed before action is taken because, in the end, if the project is unsuccessful the buck will not only stop with the DDCA and Mr. Sundaram [who is overseeing the repair work]. It will stop on my doorstep as well," Atkinson said.

Bansal was surprised by the contents of Atkinson's report. "First thing I don't know why he made such remarks. He visited the ground some 10 days back and was 100% satisfied with the progress made. Now I don't know what happened subsequently to change his views so dramatically," he said.

When asked about the lag in the commencement of renovation work, Bansal attributed it to the delay in procurement of the chemical recommended by Atkinson. "The delay was not caused by DDCA. It was Atkinson who demanded a chemical, which was not available from the company he preferred. A second company offered the chemical but he rejected it," Bansal said.

"Eventually we had to import the chemical and that naturally took 10-12 days. But still work is in full swing and we will have the ground ready by September 1. So where was this delay he is talking about?"

Atkinson's findings have been submitted to top officials of the ICC, and a more detailed report will be forwarded to the BCCI and the DDCA soon. Meanwhile, he expressed satisfaction with the progress made at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, following his assessment of the venue six months back.

"On my previous visit, I reported dissatisfaction with the condition and general appearance of the playing surface [at the Chinnaswamy Stadium] which was worn and required considerable renovation. It is pleasing to note that the appearance of the pitch block in particular, and the outfield have improved significantly in the subsequent period of time," Atkinson said.


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