South Africans' T20 warm-up shifted to Palam
Politics within the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) has forced the BCCI to switch the venue of the South Africans' T20 warm-up match on September 29 to Palam. Originally the South Africans were meant to begin their tour at Feroz Shah Kotla, but the DDCA expressed its inability to host the game in a letter to the BCCI, citing various reasons including the failure to get the requisite permissions from government agencies.
"We were not sure about the Kotla wicket as this involved an international team," Chetan Chauhan, former India opener and a DDCA vice-president, said. "Also we have not got permissions from NDMC (New Delhi Municipal Corporation) and MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) before hosting any international matches."
Chauhan also admitted that differences between various officials within the DDCA had further aggravated the matter. However, both the BCCI as well as Chauhan have assured that the existing issues would not affect Kotla playing host to the fourth Test of the Freedom Trophy between India and South Africa, starting December 3. "We will get the permissions by the second week of October," Chauhan said.
A BCCI official said that the Kotla pitch could not have been one of the reasons as the ground was fit to host a match. "They are saying that the ground is not ready," the official said. "We have spoken to the curator at DDCA and he confirmed the ground was in fantastic condition. Nobody talks about Kotla, which has really transformed. It hosted one of the best matches last domestic season - the Duleep Trophy final between Central and South Zone."
It is understood that the BCCI has asked its ground and pitches committee head Daljit Singh to inspect the Palam ground, which has hosted international teams such as Australia and England in the past.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo