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Kotla pitch fiasco

Kotla gets 2010 blackout but WC reprieve

Cricinfo staff

January 21, 2010

Comments: 32 | Text size: A | A

Irate fans tear down advertising banners at the Feroz Shah Kotla after the match was abandoned, India v Sri Lanka, 5th ODI, December 27, 2009
No international matches this year for Delhi © AFP
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The Feroz Shah Kotla will not host any international match until the end of this year following the ICC's report that the pitch on which the abandoned ODI between India and Sri Lanka was played last month was "dangerous" and should be classified "unfit". The ICC report, released on Thursday after a high-level inquiry, means the Kotla ground will be able to host matches during the 2011 World Cup.

An ICC release said: "Following the conclusion of a full investigation into the circumstances that led to the abandonment of a one-day international match between India and Sri Lanka on 27 December 2009, the ICC confirms that no international cricket will be played at the New Delhi ground until the end of December 2010."

The inquiry, carried out by Dave Richardson, the ICC's general manager of cricket, and its chief referee Ranjan Madugalle, corroborated the findings of match referee Alan Hurst as reported at the time. Hurst was reported to have classified the Kotla pitch used in that one-dayer as "unfit", the harshest possible assessment. The match had been called off after 23.3 overs during which Sri Lankan players received several blows due to severely varying bounce.

In today's statement Richardson explained the rationale behind the ban, which the world body arrived at after studying footage of the match, and based on reports from the match referee and the BCCI. "The frequency of the misbehaving deliveries [on average just more than one every three overs] - and the excessive degree of variation - had the potential to inflict serious injury to the batsmen," he said, "and that therefore the pitch that was prepared for the above match was 'dangerous' and should therefore be classified as 'unfit'."

He also pointed out that this was the first time the Feroz Shah Kotla pitch had been rated as unfit and that the ground has a long history of successfully hosting international cricket - and that it was scheduled to host matches at the 2011 World Cup.

The Delhi & Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) welcomed the decision as the Kotla was not scheduled to host any international matches till December 2010. Chetan Chauhan, the DDCA vice-president and former India Test player, said, "We don't consider this a ban, but officially we can say that the Feroz Shah Kotla has been 'banned'. We are not hosting any matches till the end of December 2010 and we have BCCI's assurance on that."

No impact on Delhi's IPL schedule

  • The DDCA said the Feroz Shah Kotla will remain hosts of the seven IPL matches it was scheduled to hold this season. The one-year ICC ban is on international matches, and the IPL, being a domestic tournament, is out of the global governing body's purview. "We will still host all our IPL matches in March and April," Chetan Chauhan, DDCA vice-president, said.

Chauhan also indicated that the DDCA was already working on improving the track and welcomed the ICC's decision to send its curator to help in the process. "Venkat Sundaram is already working on getting the tracked fixed for the IPL and then after the event gets over we will get assistance from ICC's pitch consultant in further improving the pitch's condition so that we will be ready for the World Cup."

The ICC's chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, was also certain that Delhi would get its act together before the World Cup came along. "We are confident that there is ample time for the necessary remedial work to be carried out ahead of next year's World Cup," he said, "and it is important now that the work should be carried out and domestic cricket played on the pitch to make sure it returns to the standards required for high-level international cricket."

The problem with the Kotla pitch - which has already been relaid four times in the last five years under four different curators - stems from the decision, taken immediately after the second IPL was shifted to South Africa, to relay the entire square. Daljit Singh, the head of the BCCI's grounds and wickets committee until it was disbanded following the ODI debacle, had said in October that it would take a year for the relaid tracks to get seasoned.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by NeelaGopi on (January 22, 2010, 18:38 GMT)

@Murtaza83 ur comment "the 11 players selected for the auction were hand picked by the ipl franchises" -- u miss a point here... every franchise gives a list of players it is interested in hiring in a order of preference... say, Franchise X gives a list of 10 international players it is interested in hiring in a particular order of preference... there is chance that PAK players may not be on top of the list... also every franchise has a chance to hire 2 international players... but there are 65+ available for auction... also franchises are paranoid about the availability of PAK players, hence PAK players may not be on top of list... because the available slots are less (1 or 2) and also $750,000 limit... franchises are not able to hire more int'l players... hence a lot of players are left... its purely capitalistic scenario... no franchise want to give high preference to players when they are not sure of availability of players and eventually lose matches and money... Try to understand

Posted by paulantony on (January 22, 2010, 9:08 GMT)

I dont seem to understand why everyone is hell bent on blaming the BCCI, I cant even remember a single instance of BCCI misusing its clout. India emerging as a cricketing superpower is in fact good for the game. Agreed the Kotla Fiasco should not have happened but who dosent make mistakes. Its good that ICC has not banned Kotla from hosting World Cup matches, it would have been a shame to see the Capital city not hosting a match.

Posted by Murtaza83 on (January 22, 2010, 7:26 GMT)

I figure it is rude, since my last comment did not include mention of the article I was writing it under. Pretty simple here, money talks, BCCI gets what it wants. We the fans are supposed to believe that some 'action' has actually been taken, who didn't see this coming though. I completely agree with the Lankan fans here, Chetan Chauhan should issue an official apology for bringing the intergrity of the Sri Lankan team and captain under scrutiny. It was a low blow, the way it was played down and ignored by the ICC is disgraceful. These are very dark times in Cricket.

Posted by Murtaza83 on (January 22, 2010, 7:22 GMT)

@NYSIkh, you obviously have no idea what the outcry is about in this IPL fiasco. Firstly, its about cricket, what you say clearly suggests politics governing the state of the game. Secondly, the 11 players selected for the auction were hand picked by the ipl franchises, they showed keen interest in acquiring their services. Something happened in the course of two weeks that changed these 'strategic' decisions. I imagine the cause wasn't cricket related. Lastly, you are one of the select few ignorant/extremist people from India, who have a hatred towards Pakistani's and their cricketers. Most of us Pakistani's are appreciative of the cricketing talent in India, and cricket lovers and purists in india have the same respect for Pakistani Cricketers. You need to come back down to earth bud, something to think about.

Posted by NeelaGopi on (January 22, 2010, 7:07 GMT)

Bangladesh's strength is in its bowling so they make pitches suit bowling... India's strength is batting so India makes pitches suit for batting... that's why you feel Bangladesh pitches are more balance between bat and ball... that's why it is called as 'home advantage'... We do have quality curators... when India wanted spin pitch against SA the curator provided one...

Also, in the test series against SriLanka... Indian bowlers bowled out SL in two tests in two innings... How about that? If Indians play well and SL cannot bowl well... please don't blame it on pitch...

This is one off incident... and it duly got the punishment it deserved!

IPL is domestic matter... ICC has nothing to do with... Delhi is home of Delhi Daredevils team... and the franchise definitely would like to have home games to make money and to please sponsors... making a good new pitch is not gonna take years!

Posted by randikaayya on (January 22, 2010, 2:54 GMT)

Even Bangladesh, the newest test playing nation and possibly one of the least well off cricket boards can prepare pitches of international quality that produce a decent contest between bat and ball as we see in the recent triangular and the test. Then why cannot the almighty, benevolent, "charitable" BCCI afford half decent groundsmen and facilities to promote cricket. Like their name suggests they are more interested in CONTROLLING the game rather than promoting it!

Posted by NYSIKH on (January 22, 2010, 2:17 GMT)

Hammad, Are you jealous that India is the cricket powerhouse. IPL is an indian league and it will do whatever is good for them. Why would any franchise bid on Pakistan players and create anger in Indian public against their franchise. No one is stopping Pakistan to become the cricket powerhouse. go try. By the way India is the only asian country that is standing against discrimnation in and off the cricket field and enforcing it's right. I hope you remember when Australians tried to drop Harbhajan Singh in Australia.

Posted by cricketforpeace on (January 22, 2010, 2:12 GMT)

With respect to the ban on international matches at Kotla in 2010, Chetan Chauhan, DDCA vice-president says:"We will still host all our IPL matches in March and April." This statement alone speaks of the mentality of the cricketing officials with regard to producing quality cricket grounds in India. Ban or no ban, the DDCA officials should have spent untiring efforts towards producing a quality cricketing pitch before allowing any match to take place there-even a domestic Ranji Trophy match.It does not matter if they take more than one year for this to occur.It only shows we do look for excellence in anything we do. Cosmetic changes will occur at the Kotla, the same shameful cricketing officials will continue to rule the roost while we wait for history to repeat itself!

Posted by singhinderjit95 on (January 22, 2010, 1:47 GMT)

what are Delhi Cricket BOARD and BCCI Doing. Why they just don't replace the pitch with a new pitch

Posted by DwightR on (January 22, 2010, 1:34 GMT)

i think the indian official that called the sri lankan team cowards owes them an apology and should be eating his words..and ICC is so gutless that it convinently bans the ground during a time frame when no matches are schdules and also allows Kotla to host matches during the WC the most important tournament in our sport. the ICC's current management is all about pleasing the BCCI and their money rather than truly improving and expanding the game. disgusting...

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