Kotla pitch not ideal for T20, say disgruntled players

It was tough to play shots on the surface: Gambhir, Katich


 More often than not the Kotla pitch has also been able to throw up a result in Tests with India coming on top on most occasions. In the last nine Tests played here, eight have produced results with only the match between India and Australia in October last ending in a stalemate.

Against this backdrop, it is difficult to comprehend as to how the Kotla pitch has come to be recognised as being too slow and low, a recipe for dull cricket. Be that as it may, in an effort to get rid of the notorious image, the Delhi and District Cricket Association embarked upon relaying the pitch for which they called in the services of BCCI’s chief curator Daljit Singh.

However, six months after the relaying process, DDCA must be wondering if anything has changed as far as the nature of the strip is concerned. So low was the bounce of the pitch used for the Champions League T20 matches on Friday that the batsmen must have wondered if they were playing blind cricket where the ball is rolled rather than bowled!     
Consequently, the matches were low-scoring affairs and certainly spectators wouldn’t have appreciated it one bit. In the first match of the day, New South Wales put up 144 and their opponents Diamond Eagles could manage only 91. The second match wasn’t any better. After restricting Delhi Daredevils to 98, Victoria Bushrangers coasted to victory in 17th over.

Not surprisingly, neither the Eagles’ skipper Boeta Dippenar nor the Daredevils’ captain Gautam Gambhir was amused with the way the pitch behaved. “We didn't play well, we didn't adapt to the conditions well, but I must say the conditions were really tough. The bounce wasn't great, particularly when you are coming from lively South African conditions. The wicket wasn't close to what we played in the three practice games either,” Dippenar said.

Dippenar was asked if he was aware that the Kotla pitch was a newly-laid one. “Yeah, we were aware of that and we knew it will play slow, but not as much as it did today.”
Gambhir was more forthright in his observation. “I don’t know how bad the wicket was, but I can say that this wasn’t an ideal wicket for a T20 match, because you just don’t have a chance to come back,” he said after losing his first match as the full-time captain of the side.

Despite finishing at the right end of the result and playing a crucial role with the bat in his side’s big win, Simon Katich was less than impressed with the Kotla pitch. “We won the toss but we were not quite sure how the wicket was going to play. Initially, it was difficult to play shots but once we got the start, it became easy. To be honest, whenever you play Twenty20 cricket wickets are always good but today it was too low and slow,” he said.

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