x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

'Shameful' wicket could cost Delhi dear

Hopes of hosting a 2011 World Cup match fall as fast as Sri Lanka batsmen on the dangerous Kotla wicket.

The chances of the Feroz Shah Kotla cricket ground in Delhi hosting World Cup games in 2011 are in jeopardy after yesterday's fifth one-day international between India and Sri Lanka was abandoned because of a dangerous wicket. Sri Lankan batsmen Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sanath Jayasuriya both needed medical attention after being struck by deliveries. Other batsman were also hit due to the unpredictable bounce from the wicket, with some balls going through at head high and others, from the same length, at shin high. After 23.3 overs, and with Sri Lanka on 83 for five, the game was stopped by the umpires Marais Erasmus and Shavir Tarapore. After consultation with both sides the game was officially abandoned 90 minutes later.

The damage to Kotla's - and Delhi's - reputation has, however, already been done, and their hopes of hosting games at the 2011 World Cup, which will be hosted jointly by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, are in serious doubt due to International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations. The ICC's code of conduct regarding poor pitches states that a first such breach should be met with "a suspension of the venue's international status for a period of between 12 and 24 months together with a directive for appropriate remedial action and the need for prior ICC re-accreditation as an international venue".

Previous concerns over the pitch, which had been relaid in April, had been made known and attempts to bind winter grass to the wicket by groundstaff only appeared to make conditions more treacherous. Former India captain, Dilip Vengsarkar, said of the wicket: "It is a shameful incident. This kind of pitch is being prepared for an international match. The pitch committee must be held responsible." The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) reacted swiftly by disbanding their ground and pitches committee, whose chief Daljit Singh was at the game, with immediate effect, while the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) have issued an apology and promised ticket refunds.

India had already won the five-match series 3-1. arizvi@thenational.ae