Dangerous pitch threatens New Delhi’s World Cup venue hopes

Dangerous pitch threatens New Delhi’s World Cup venue hopes

Chennai: New Delhi is in danger of losing its hosting rights for the 2011 World Cup following a scathing report on the Feroz Shah Kotla pitch after a one-day international was abandoned, media in India reported on Tuesday.

The fifth and final one-day international between Sri Lanka and India in New Delhi was called off after 23.3 overs on Sunday due to a dangerous pitch upon which the tourists had toiled to reach 83 for five before play was halted.

Match referee Alan Hurst had classified the pitch “unfit", the Hindustan Times reported, quoting from the official’s report to the International Cricket Council.

The classification was the worst of six possible categories, the newspaper said, and attracts a suspension of the status to host international matches for a period between 12-24 months.

The International Cricket Council’s stringent new rules governing venues came into effect in October this year.

The stadium is due to stage four matches of the World Cup to be jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh from 19 February to 2 April 2011.

“The pitch did not meet the requirements for an ODI match," the paper quoted Hurst’s report as saying.

“This meant the players were unsure of what the ball would do. However, of more concern was the dangerous bounce that occurred randomly and accounted for batsmen being struck on a number of occasions.

“The pitch did not allow players to play with any confidence and was totally unsuitable for international cricket."

The Board of Control for Cricket in India had received a notice classifying the pitch as “unfit" and has been given 14 days to respond, the paper said.

The BCCI’s response along with the match footage will be reviewed by the ICC’s chief referee Ranjan Madugalle and the governing body’s cricket operations manager Dave Richardson before a decision is pronounced.

Sports minister Manohar Singh Gill said the fiasco was shameful for the country.

“It is very unfortunate and a great embarrassment for the country. It should not have happened," he told domestic media.