The likes of Gautam Gambhir and Boeta Dippenaar may be bristling but star Wayamba Elevens player Mahela Jayawardene refuses to make a fuss about the Feroze Shah Kotla track, saying the newly-laid strip would get better with time.
The pitch has come in for some sharp criticism from Diamond Eagles captain Dippenaar, who said the track was not ideal to host Twenty20 matches.
New South Wales skipper Simon Katich also criticised the pitch, saying it was too slow and low, while Delhi Daredevils captain Gautam Gambhir was also miffed with the track at his home ground.
Jayawardene said the pitch was getting better and things would improve further.
“As always, I never criticise a pitch. For a professional cricketer, every pitch poses a great challenge and the Kotla pitch was really low and slow in the first couple of days, at least that’s what looked on TV,” he said.
“But it looked better yesterday during our match against the Daredevils. It’s a newly-laid pitch and will take a little time to get better,” the former Sri Lanka captain said on the sidelines of a promotional event.
Jayawardene’s men lost to Daredevils by 50 runs and their Champions League prospects will now hinge on the outcome of Tuesday’s match against the mighty Victoria Bushrangers.
The stylish right-hander conceded his teammates had butterflies in stomach as they turned up for their first match.
“It’s an inexperienced side, despite having a few internationals. Our guys got a little bit overwhelmed by the occasion and made a few mistakes. I hope we learn from those mistakes since it’s now a do-or-die situation for us.
“Playing against the Daredevils was not easy. They are a strong side, which had lost their first match and were all the more determined to win this one. Viru (Sehwag) played a good knock and then Dinesh (Karthik) batted really well,” he added.
Wayamba Elevens captain Jehan Mubarak also agreed that his teammates could not keep their nerves.
“Playing in India is a huge thing. It’s an exposure that you relish and take memories back home. Me and Mahela have played in India but most of the players have not and that showed,” he said.
Despite the hype and hoopla around it, Champions League has not really seen any full-house, especially in Delhi and Hyderabad, but Jayawardene said it was a great concept which would gain popularity, much like the Indian Premier League.
“I think even IPL took time for people to associate themselves with their local team. I think so far the response has been great.
“Here we are playing against international teams and we don’t see the fans of a Victorian or a Lankan team here. Maybe they are following their teams from home,” said Jayawardene.