New Delhi: The last time an international match was scheduled in the midst of the Delhi winter, disaster struck the Ferozeshah Kotla.
The game, against Sri Lanka on December 27, 2009, was called off due to a sub-standard pitch, and the International Cricket Council banned the ground for a year. The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) was forced to take corrective measures on the surface, and since then, it has become a ‘nothing’ wicket, where matches tend to meander along till someone puts in an exceptional performance.
With the city in the midst of one of its coldest and foggiest winters in recent times, DDCA vice-president Chetan Chauhan said all precautions were being taken to protect the pitch, but admitted the conditions would suit the bowlers more than they hoped for.
“We are using blankets and durries to cover the surface and to keep it warm, and then putting the covers over them. We only lift the covers when the sun comes out, and thankfully we have had some good sunshine which has helped us. The forecast for the next couple of days is for sunshine and that’ll really help us,” Chauhan told MAIL TODAY.
"Yes, the heavy atmosphere and the low temperatures will help the fast bowlers more than usual. More than the first innings, it will be after sunset, during the second innings, that the bowlers will find the conditions more to their liking. That, combined with the two new balls, will be to the bowlers’ advantage. But this isn’t to say that batting will be too difficult – good batsmanship will always be rewarded in cricket,” said the former India Test opener.
Asked if there were apprehensions at the DDCA bearing in mind the events of 2009, Chauhan said: “That was a long time ago. Since then we’ve hosted World Cup matches, a Test match, an ODI against England and a lot of first-class matches. I can assure you the pitch will be as good as it can be and the conditions will not affect it too adversely.”