Dhoni wanted Kotla ODI to continue: Chauhan

MS Dhoni wanted to continue with the game, while Sri Lanka team was responsible for the cancellation of the final ODI, according to Chetan Chauhan.

updated: December 28, 2009 17:01 IST
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New Delhi:

Indian skipper MS Dhoni wanted to continue with the game on Sunday against Sri Lanka, while the visiting team was responsible for the cancellation of the final ODI in New Delhi, according to Chetan Chauhan.

Chauhan, who resigned as the chairman of the DDCA pitch committee after the fifth and final ODI between India and Sri Lanka was abandoned due to poor pitch conditions, said that match referee Alan Hurst told him that the Sri Lankan team did not want to play.

"I have an unofficial information that captain of the Indian team wanted to continue, but the other team was not ready to play," he told NDTV.

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"According to reports, out of 23.3 overs, which nearly constitutes fifty per cent of an innings, only nine-odd deliveries bounced unevenly. I have played on similar wickets and that too without helmets during my times. Something could have been done to save the game. But for the first time in my career I saw how easy it was to call off a game," he added.

Chauhan said on Monday that though the Feroz Shah Kotla pitch was not an ideal ODI wicket, but was neither unplayable nor dangerous.

NDTV cricket expert Ajay Jadeja, who was present in the stadium on Sunday, had also said that the pitch was not that bad.

Chauhan also said the match could have restarted if the officials and the players had considered the option of playing on the adjacent wicket.

"In the interest of the game and the people, the option that we had given should have been considered. We had offered an additional wicket that could have been prepared in an hour," he said.

"Sixty per cent it's our fault and 40 per cent I think the officials also blundered," he added.

An ICC inspection team had in fact warned last month against hosting a match at the stadium because the pitch was just not up to the mark. The team visited Kotla on November 4, three days after India's ODI against Australia, and made a damning observation of the pitch in its report.

"There is an ODI at this venue on December 27, 2009 and considerable improvement of the pitch block will be required by then to make the pitch provided more acceptable," the team said.

The team also said that the Delhi officials were reluctant to discuss problems and were at variance with the BCCI pitch consultant.

However, Chauhan said he was unaware of any such report.

"We have not received any such report. It must have gone to the BCCI. As far as our reluctance is concerned, I don't agree to it. I had shown the pitch to ICC's chief curator Andy Atkinson and I am sure he discussed all the problems thread-bare with Daljit Singh, who was the chairman of the BCCI's grounds and pitch committee."

"It was under Daljit Singh's direction the pitch was dug, prepared. Pitch preparation is a technical matter. I don't think we have the right or complete expertise. We took the services of the BCCI's grounds and pitch committee because we consider them to be the experts," he said.

"Unfortunately something drastic had happened yesterday in the batch on the pitch of the DDCA," he added.

Chauhan also expressed concern over Kotla losing its status as an international venue.

"We are worried that Kotla could lose out as a venue. But we are absolutely sure that ICC would realise that it was a genuine mistake, an accident and not something deliberate," he said.