Match referee Alan Hurst's damning indictment of the pitch at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi is likely to result in the venue being disqualified from hosting international cricket matches at the 2011 World Cup. Hurst, who officiated the abandoned fifth one-day international between India and Sri Lanka on Sunday, gave the field the lowest possible classification - "unfit" - in his official report to the International Cricket Council (ICC). "This pitch did not meet the requirements for an ODI match," he wrote in his post-match report, according to local press.
"This meant the players were unsure of what the ball would do; playing shots was risky because of the unpredictable bounce. "However, of more concern was the dangerous bounce that occurred randomly and accounted for batsmen being struck on a number of occasions. "At the other extreme, bounce was often very low. This pitch did not allow players to play with any confidence and was totally unsuitable for international cricket."
The ICC code of conduct rules that pitch standards deemed insufficient will face "a suspension of the venue's international status for a period of between 12 and 24 months", followed by a process of reapplying to be recognised as an international venue. The ICC had previously warned the Delhi & Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) about the condition of the pitch following India's third ODI with Australia on October 31. Following Sunday's debacle, in a move recognised as damage control, the DDCA pitch panel members resigned. However, video footage will be studied by the ICC chief referee Ranjan Madugalle and cricket operations manager Dave Richardson before a final decision is made. The Board of Control for Cricket in India have been forwarded Hurst's report and have two weeks to respond. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org