While the Indian cricket Board’s roster for the upcoming home season has a record 13 Tests, Delhi’s Ferozeshah Kotla, one of the oldest venues in the country, is not among the staging centres.
The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), headquartered at the Kotla, has been embroiled in an administrative mess, which forced the court to appoint Justice (retd) Mukul Mudgal to oversee the conduct of matches, both international and IPL, over the past season.
While the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) says that not giving Delhi a Test this season is part of the rotation policy, DDCA vice-president Chetan Chauhan was livid.
“How can we not get a Test during such a busy season? When the pitches at other venues during the South Africa Test series were being criticised, ours got great feedback. In fact, while other games were finishing in three-four days, ours extended to five days,” said the former India opening batsman.
There has been speculation that an ongoing CBI inquiry against DDCA officials may have prompted the cricket Board to keep the venue off the list.
The Board though says there is no truth in this.
Ratnakar Shetty, the BCCI’s Game Development Officer, said, “We are going by rotation policy. Since Delhi hosted the last Test to happen at home, we have excluded it.”
Of the four venues to host Tests against South Africa late last year, only Delhi and Nagpur have been left out. The Nagpur pitch was criticised by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and that is why it has been left out. Mohali and Bengaluru, which also hosted Tests against the Proteas, however, will host games in the coming season.
Having included six new cities recently to take the list of Test venues in India to 16, the BCCI is giving an opportunity to all of them this year.
There is some consolation though. Delhi will stage a one-day international against New Zealand in October-November.