Gautam Gambhir, the Delhi Daredevils captain, joined the criticism against the Feroz Shah Kotla pitch after his side's seven-wicket defeat against Kings XI Punjab, saying that he prefered playing away games since the wicket at his home venue was not the best in the country.
"I personally would prefer to play away matches as a batsman and bowler. Wickets in Bangalore and Kolkata and other parts of India are better than what we have here for Twenty20," Gambhir told PTI after his side's seven-wicket defeat against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday. "It is difficult to play shots and score runs here. You don't get value for your shots here."
Delhi's powerful batting line-up collapsed to 111 all out on the crumbling wicket, with legspinner Piyush Chawla picking up 2 for 16. Fellow spinners Ramesh Powar and Yuvraj Singh proved tough to get away, and between them the spinners picked up 3 for 55 in 12 overs. Irfan Pathan also made good use of the slow pitch, picking 3 for 24.
The Kotla wicket has come under the scanner ever since the fifth ODI between India and Sri Lanka in December, which was abandoned due to the unfit playing surface. Despite getting a one-year international ban, the Kotla was allowed to host IPL matches since the tournament does not come under the purview of ICC. Throughout the tournament, the pitch has favoured teams that bat first, prompting Bangalore captain Anil Kumble to term it as "not ideal for Twenty20".
"The toss is very crucial on such a track. I think 185 was too much for us to chase in this kind of wicket. It is not the ideal wicket for Twenty20," Kumble had said after his side lost their game at the Kotla by 37 runs. On that occasion, Gambhir admitted his side had been lucky to win the toss. All four night games so far at the Kotla this year have been won comfortably by the team batting first.