x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Match referee: Dehli pitch was too dangerous

Alan Hurst, the match referee of the abandoned fifth and final ODI between India and Sri Lanka, confirms the Kotla pitch was unplayable.

Match referee Alan Hurst described the wicket at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground in Delhi as "too dangerous" after the fifth and final one-day international between India and Sri Lanka was abandoned today. A switch to a second pitch was also deemed "impractical" after play was halted midway through Sri Lanka's innings. The Board of Control for Cricket in Indi (BCCI) a reacted quickly by disbanding its Grounds and Pitches Committee, while the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) apologised to fans and spectators and offered to refund the cost of tickets. The tourists were put in to bat on a surface that had an uneven sprinkling of grass on it, and they were 83 for five in 23.3 overs when match officials deemed the pitch too treacherous for play to continue.

Following a midfield conference between Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara, his India counterpart Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the on-field umpires and match referee Hurst, play was temporarily suspended. The officials, who were joined by members of the staging association, headed for the pavilion for a closed-room discussion before the match was eventually called off. Hurst said in an International Cricket Council (ICC) statement: "The decision to abandon the match was taken by myself, in consultation with the on-field umpires Marais Erasmus and Shavir Tarapore, and both captains as it was clear that the pitch had extremely variable bounce and was too dangerous for further play. "I'd like to commend the on-field umpires and captains for continuing as long as they did in the hope that the pitch may settle down.

"Before abandoning the match, consideration was given to shifting the match to a secondary pitch. "However, it was deemed impractical as the secondary pitch was not adequately prepared." It remains to be seen if the ICC will blacklist Delhi ? a move which could leave its chances of staging World Cup matches in 2011 in jeopardy. The BCCI decided to disband its Grounds and Pitches Committee, headed by Daljit Singh, with immediate effect. "The Board of Control for Cricket in India has disbanded its grounds and pitches committee with immediate effect," cricket board secretary N Srinivasan said in a statement.

DDCA president Arun Jaitley apologised to fans and spectators and has offered to refund the cost of tickets. "The DDCA regrets the inconvenience caused to all spectators and others," Jaitley said. "We offer our apologies to them. All gate tickets will be refunded. "The DDCA takes this matter very seriously. "We will look into this matter and do all that is required to ensure that such a situation does not re-occur." The pitch at the Feroz Shah Kotla was relaid in April but came in for fierce criticism during the Champions League in September-October and the one-day series against Australia immediately after due to its low bounce.

The groundsman had attempted to remedy the situation by binding it with winter grass in time for this game but only succeeded in making matters worse. * PA Sport