DDCA rues lack of World Cup warm-up matches at KotlaBy IANS
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
NEW DELHI - Warm-up games ahead of the World Cup would have helped the Feroze Shah Kotla to assess its facilities for the mega event, feels a top official of the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA).
The South Africa-West Indies match slated for February 24 will be the first international match at the historic Kotla since December 2009. The venue, which was suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after the India-Sri Lanka ODI in December 2009 was abandoned bec ause of “unplayable” pitch, was reinstated as an international venue November 23.
In between, the stadium has hosted the Indian Premier League (IPL) and a few domestic matches, but the World Cup will be the venue’s biggest international event after over a year.
The ground will be hosting four matches, including the day and night India-Ireland game scheduled for March 9.
Anil Jain, joint secretary of the DDCA, told IANS that some practice matches would have helped the association to test the facilities at the stadium.
“We could have checked all the facilities, had a few practice matches been played here. We could have assessed our preparedness from the pitch to all the facilities,” said Jain.
Sudden showers in the last few days have added to the DDCA’s woes.
“We are prepared to host the World cup, but rains in the past few days have made things difficult,” he said.
Jain admitted that the Kotla did not get a big game as it was under suspension.
“The biggest setback for us was the ban. We did not get big matches because of the pitch fiasco. It was an embarrassment for us and the blot will remain on the ground forever,” he said.
Jain hoped that 55,000 capacity stadium will witness huge crowds in all the four matches.
“We will start the ticket sales in a couple of days. The India game will surely be sell-out. But I feel other games will also witness a sizeable crowd,” he said.