India news November 23, 2010

Kotla gets back international status

ESPNcricinfo staff

The Feroz Shah Kotla ground in New Delhi has been reinstated as an international venue with effect from January 1, the ICC has said. This means it is formally cleared to host the four World Cup matches scheduled at the ground next year.

The decision follows an inspection by Andy Atkinson, the ICC's pitch consultant, who observed the pitch first-hand during a Ranji match between Delhi and Gujarat over the past week.

The venue was suspended as an international ground following the abandonment of an ODI between India and Sri Lanka in December 2009, and has been under a process of repair monitored by the ICC. Dave Richardson, the ICC's general manager, said it was pleased with the remedial work carried out and felt the playing surfaces were now back to the standard expected for international matches.

The DDCA, to protect the pitch, has decided minimise cricket at the venue ahead of the World Cup, including shifting the next two scheduled Ranji matches out of the Kotla. "We want to keep the wicket in good shape, so [we thought] why not move the Ranji games to other grounds that are available," Venkat Sundaram, the chairman of the BCCI's grounds and wickets committee, told Cricinfo. "There are 12 days of cricket scheduled for this track before the World Cup and they can lead to a lot of wear and tear on the wicket, with players running onto it with spikes. "

He also said the onset of winter meant the grass won't grow very quickly, so it would be better to let the turf settle rather than have a lot of cricket on it before the World Cup.

The last international played at the Kotla, on December 27 2009, was abandoned after 23.3 overs after the match officials decided the pitch was of "extremely variable bounce and too dangerous for further play". The immediate fallout of the fiasco was the sacking of the BCCI's grounds and wickets committee, followed by the resignation of their Delhi counterparts.