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Delhi ODI to be played on special grass

The first India-England one-day international on Tuesday will be played on a special variety of grass at the Ferozeshah Kotla.

india Updated: Mar 26, 2006 12:59 IST

The first India-England one-day international on Tuesday will be played on a special variety of grass, originally from Georgia in the US, at the Ferozeshah Kotla grounds.

The first international match played on the grass, known as Tifway 419, was the India-Pakistan one-dayer in April 17 last year.

The Tifway 419, a variety of Bermuda grass that binds with the soil quicker than others, was especially chosen keeping in view the short deadline for the ground to get the match fit for the India-Pakistan ODI.

"We had brought Tifway 419 grass in the US and DDCA (Delhi and District Cricket Association) brought the grass from us. This was chosen because it finds roots quickly," said an official of the company that sold the grass to DDCA.

Rolls of ready-made grass were transported from Timber Trail in Himachal Pradesh and unrolled over the outfield approximately 155,000 square feet in area of the enlarged Kotla ground.

Another variety of Bermuda— Tif Dwarf— was planted on the all-important central square that includes nine pitches.

The ground was hurriedly brought into shape— even though the pitch was far from satisfactory— for the April 17 India-Pakistan one-day international last year that was also watched by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

Since time was too short for Tif Dwarf to grow properly, the pitch came in for much criticism, with Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer likening it to a "beach front".

However, the pitch for the India-Sri Lanka Test in December last year was an improved one, with the home side registering an 188-run win.

This time around, the Kotla pitch promises to look— and behave— much better than in the past.

About 40,000 people would watch the India-England one-day international at the stadium whose renovation cost has consumed at least Rs.500 million so far. Another Rs.10-12 million would be needed to make the stadium complete, including the floodlights, said officials.

"We are trying to provide the best of facilities," DDCA secretary general SP Bansal said.

"For instance, the new club house is now fully air-conditioned and the capacity has been increased," he said.

The seating capacity has been enhanced to 40,000— an increase of 10,000 on the India-Sri Lanka Test in December.

The 'A' and 'B' wings have been completed with one of the features being the fixed seats, said Bansal. Wing 'C' is partially complete and when completed in the next phase, it will have a total capacity of 12,000 seats.

At least Rs 500 million have been spent on the renovation of this historic ground where the first match was played 57 years ago, against the West Indies in 1948.

DDCA will not have to pay any guarantee money to the Board of Control for Cricket in India for this match as the board has discontinued the practice.

Another good news for DDCA is that the BCCI has increased the infrastructure subsidy given to its affiliated associations from Rs 40 million to Rs 100 million.

The step should help DDCA to complete the renovation, including the floodlights, by the end of the year.

First Published: Mar 26, 2006 12:59 IST