India news February 17, 2012

Bad pitch costs Railways home games in 2012-13

The Karnail Singh Stadium in Delhi has been banned from hosting Railways' home games for the 2012-13 season due to poor pitch conditions during a match in the current season. The BCCI's Technical Committee, which took this decision at its meeting in Mumbai on Friday, also let off Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) with a warning for the state of the pitch for the Plate match against Maharashtra in the same season.

The committee also decided, as part of its recommendations to improve the game, on a two-point penalty for any hosting association if its pitch is deemed "underprepared" by the match referee.

The Railways match in question was the Elite group stage match against Saurashtra, which was over in two days. Eighteen wickets had fallen on the opening day, primarily to the spinners. Though Saurashtra went on to win by 97 runs, their coach Debu Mitra was reprimanded for criticising the playing surface. The match had scores of 175, 81, 152 and 149.

The technical committee meeting was attended by representatives of the HCA and Railways Sport Promotion Board (RSPB) based on the reports submitted by the match referees.

According to Ratnakar Shetty, the BCCI CAO, the match refereee for the Hyderabad match, the former Tamil Nadu batsman S Sharath, had noted the pitch was not up to the mark and hence the technical committee called up the HCA official for explanation.

The match had only three completed innings, with scores of 124, 184 and 54. Maharashtra won by an innings and six runs, with the left-arm spinner Akshay Darekar taking 8 for 20 to send Hyderabad crashing to an embarrassing 54 at their home ground.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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