The controversial Ferozeshah Kotla wicket is set to be inspected by International Cricket Council (ICC) pitch experts on February 7. “We expect the Kotla wicket to be completely ready by 21st or 22nd of this month,” said a Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) official.
“Venkat Sundram (the former BCCI Pitches and Grounds Committee chairman) has been overseeing the preparation with Noor Mohammed and Radhey Shyam. We have even brought back our former pitch in-charge Ali, and they expect it to be ready.
We will then play two to three practice games on the wicket. These games will be video-graphed and the tape will be handed over to ICC experts,” he said.
While there has been no confirmation on a decision reached by ICC General Manager (Cricket), Dave Richarson, and chief match referee, Ranjan Madugalle, the panel studying the match referee’s report and reply filed by the BCCI to decide on the penalty, sources told Hindustan Times that no one believed banning Kotla, ‘a historic cricket ground’ set in the heart of India, was in anyone’s best interest.
“It’s not just about the fact that match referee Hurst’s assessment was unduly harsh. It’s also about the fact that a proper legal protocol was not quite followed when the decision to abandon the match was taken,” the source said.
A critical point of the report in defence of Kotla was that law 7.4 of the standard one-day playing conditions indicates that any decision to abandon a back-up pitch must be taken by the on-field umpires only, not, as was in this case, by the match referee in consultation with the umpires and captains.
“From what we gather, a grading of the pitch as being ‘poor’ as against ‘unfit’ and perhaps a fine of USD 15,000 could be on the cards,” said a source.