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North Zone T20 turns sluggish fest

You expect fireworks when Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh take guard alongside IPL and CLT20 finds Paul Valthaty and Sarul Kanwar.

cricket Updated: Oct 26, 2011 01:23 IST
Khurram Habib

You expect fireworks when Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh take guard alongside IPL and CLT20 finds Paul Valthaty and Sarul Kanwar.

Unfortunately, on wickets not ideal for strokeplay, none of them have been able to entertain fans converging at the Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in far-flung Lahli village and the DPS ground in Rohtak, in the North Zone Twenty20 tournament.

Over the last two days, fans had hoped for a treat. Sehwag and Yuvraj were on show. But neither was his mercurial self as the ball stopped and came.

Yuvraj wasn't amused. "It is not an ideal T20 wicket."http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/261011/26_10_pg24new.jpg

Below-par totals have been the norm in this tournament. In 30 innings, from the 15 matches played, the 150-run barrier was breached just twice, both on the first day. In other zones, barring East, the returns have been much better.

Coach critical
Delhi coach Manoj Prabhakar criticised the quality of pitches. "It is difficult to time the ball," he shrugged, after Delhi had scraped through on Monday.

Senior batsman Mithun Manhas said: "The wickets are not good to bat on."

Bishan Singh Bedi, who coaches Jammu and Kashmir, was forthright. "Wickets such as these defeat the purpose of T20 cricket. T20 is meant to be like: the ball comes onto the bat and goes back bang to the fence."

Punjab coach Vikram Rathore also joined in. "They are very poor quality wickets." In fact, almost all players HT spoke to slammed the DPS wicket in Rohtak. Some even called it a joke.

Pitches defended
Hosts Haryana, who were out of the event, attributed the slow pitches to wear and tear. "The bounce has been good, and so has been the carry. We are having matches everyday so we can't water the tracks daily. Maybe because of this the tracks are getting tougher to bat on," said Ashwini Kumar, the coach-cum-manager of Haryana.