Pitch rip off


Arun Jaitley and his men in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) disgraced the country on Sunday. For the second time in 12 years, a One-Day International match in this country had to be called off midway because of a bad pitch, and this time Ferozshah Kotla, maintained by DDCA, was the venue. It would appear that the DDCA bigwigs had little time to bother about such ‘minor’ issues like ensuring a sporting pitch to host an international match. That is the job of experts and technicians, in this case the Kotla curator. How else does one explain the fact that the unsuitability of Kotla square’s main pitch had been noticed a few weeks ago when Champions League matches were played on it? The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) cannot absolve itself of any responsibility in this national shame. For, the BCCI has a technical oversight committee to make sure that all international match venues in the country maintain good pitches and outfield. Obviously, the BCCI too has not done its job.

DDCA, on Monday, made brazen attempts to blame match officials for the Kotla fiasco. And, the man fielded to open this fire-fighting campaign was Chetan Chauhan, the only former professional cricketer of international repute in the DDCA governing body. However, not many would buy that explanation just because it was made by Chauhan. He made a feeble attempt to accuse the International Cricket Council’s match referee for the Kotla tie for the abrupt end. Poor Chauhan! He was assigned an impossible task. How can a former Indian opener miss the point that Indian skipper M S Dhoni was consulted before the referee called off the match.
Of course, nobody has ever accused DDCA of being a professionally-run cricket body committed to promoting the game. More often than not it has been a den of petty politics, almost always at loggerheads with its players — recently the present crop of Delhi cricketers had almost rebelled against it. On Sunday, it earned the wrath of Delhi’s cricket fans as well. Together with the BCCI, it has made the nation hang its head in shame. It is good to earn money as our cricket bodies do like no other counterparts do in the cricketing world. But it is time to spend some of it at least on the cricket infrastructure, including sporting pitches.

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