The Ferozeshah Kotla has seen a lot of change in the recent past, with the IPL. It's been "glammed up" quite a bit - the stands, the lights, the floor… even the grass has a fresher smell. Unfortunately, someone at the Kotla seems to have forgotten that there will be local and other cricket matches this year before the IPL returns next season.
Players at the Kotla on Saturday for the DDCA Super League game were forced to keep their kitbags in the open after they found the old dressing rooms (that they would normally have used) locked.
First, there was no one around to even open the rooms and later, it was learnt that the rooms wouldn't be opened because apparently, material (what exactly, no one knows) belonging to the GMR group (the Delhi IPL team owners) is still lying there.
If that was not enough, the verandah in front of the old dressing rooms (which is where teams would sit during domestic games) had been converted into a slick, fibreglass-enclosed space during the IPL. The problem now is that that area was air conditioned during the T20 event. Now that the lights are off, so is the air conditioning. Walk into the space and it's unbearably hot and so stuffy that breathing's difficult. You can't possibly sit there and as one angry ONGC player said, "It's like a microwave."
As a result, everyone just had to sit out in the sun. On this day, Delhi's freak weather meant that it was just about okay outside but on days ahead, when the summer sun beats down on the cover-less area, it will be very tough on the players. Incidentally, players also had to have lunch on the field itself as there was no proper place to sit and eat.
When HT tried to get a response from Sunil Dev, Sports Secretary, DDCA, he said: "We had a meeting three days ago where we discussed the facilities and all…but yes thanks for bringing the matter to light… It was not a good idea to switch on the air conditioning as it could have created a problem for the players to sit in the AC and then go out to play in the sun," he added. Well, someone should tell the international players this too.
Anyway, Dev did agree that the matter had to be sorted out as soon as possible. "It was a bad idea to agree with GMR's demand (that they leave their things in the room) but tomorrow is Sunday, things will be better by Monday."
HT has also learnt that the contract (with Voltas) for the various electronic equipment (lights, ACs etc) fixed in the arena, expiried on Saturday and the machines would either be taken back (which seemed impractical) or the meters would be "fixed" so they would be inoperable for now. Dev though, believed that this could be sorted out: "We have given them so much business, they will certainly cooperate." This being the DDCA, we'll wait and see.