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Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla Ground Not To Host International Cricket Matches Till End Of 2010, Says ICC

"The ICC pitch consultant will inspect the Feroz Shah Kotla ground as soon as possible and oversee a programme of remedial work throughout 2010 designed to ensure the pitch returns to the standard required to
PTI January 21, 2010 23:07 IST

"The ICC pitch consultant will inspect the Feroz Shah Kotla ground as soon as possible and oversee a programme of remedial work throughout 2010 designed to ensure the pitch returns to the standard required to host international cricket, in particular, matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 as planned," the ICC statement added. 

The decision was made by the ICC General Manager (Cricket) David Richardson and the ICC chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle after considering all the evidence, including studying video footage of the match and examining both the match referee's report and the submissions from the BCCI. 

Richardson maintained that though pitch was "unfit" for play and could have injured the batsmen, it is not possible to predict the behaviour of the newly laid pitches. He also said it was first such instance at Kotla ground which has a rich history of succesfully hosting international matches. 

"We understand that turf pitches, by their very nature, are not and cannot be expected to always behave predictably and that an occasional delivery of unexpected steep bounce, while not ideal especially for limited-overs cricket, is part of the game. 

"In this instance, however, we are of the view that 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 and that therefore the pitch that was prepared for the above match was 'dangerous' and should therefore be classified as 'unfit'," he said. 

"We acknowledge and endorse the decision by the BCCI not to schedule any international cricket at the ground prior to the end of 2010, which is consistent with our own finding and within the parameters of the relevant regulations that apply. 

"While the pitch was unfit for international cricket, it is also worth bearing in mind that it is the first time the Feroz Shah Kotla pitch has been rated as unfit, that the ground has a long history of successfully hosting international cricket and that it is scheduled to host matches at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011," Richardson added. 

ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat suggested that domestic matches should be played on the pitch after the remedial work to ready it for the international matches. 

"We are confident that there is ample time for the necessary remedial work to be carried out ahead of next year's ICC Cricket World Cup 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. 

"Let's not forget, this ground is one of the world's iconic venues and it's imperative it stages matches during what is the game's biggest tournament," Lorgat said.

The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) on Thursday accepted ICC's decision on Kotla fiasco but refused to agree to the finding that pitch was unfit. 

The DDCA said it endorses the stand taken by the BCCI and also accept the ICC verdict but at the same it believes that pitch was not that bad to be classified as unfit.

The DDCA also said the match could have continued had officials accepted their proposal of shifting the tie to an alternative strip.

"Even though we believe that the match was abandoned without following the due process under the ICC laws, since no adversity is caused by this order. We accept this order. 

"Some variation in the pitch can not term it as dangerous and unfit. The process with regard to continuing on an alternative pitch under law seven of the ICC laws for ODIs was not followed," DDCA said in a statement. "We welcome the decision of the ICC to send its curator to oversee a programme for developing the pitch to international standard. 

"The DDCA is already preparing its pitch. Sh. Venkatsundaram along with a team of curators is overseeing the preparation of the pitch. Preparation is substantially complete. We intend to play a number of domestic matches in the month of February on the prepared pitches. 

"IPL is scheduled to be held in Delhi in March-April 2010. We will endeavour to give a world quality pitch for the four World Cup matches," the statement read. PTI