Page last updated at 07:21 GMT, Monday, 28 December 2009

India uproar over abandoned cricket match

Sri Lankan cricketer Tillakaratne Dilshan after being hit by a ball during the match against India in Kotla
Sri Lankan Tillakaratne Dilshan was hit after a ball bounced too high

There has been uproar in India after a cricket match between India and Sri Lanka on Sunday was called off because the pitch was deemed unfit for play.

The final one-day international match was being played at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground in the capital Delhi.

Sri Lanka, sent in to bat, were 83-5 in the 24th over when the umpires stopped play with officials deeming the surface too treacherous for play to continue.

The match would not have altered the series result as India held the lead.

Correspondents say the cancellation of the match has cast doubt over the four games that the Kotla ground is scheduled to host for the 2011 World Cup.

However, Haroon Logat, chief executive officer of the International Cricket Council said that it was "too early to comment on the status of Kotla's World Cup games."

The penalty can vary from a simple warning to the cricket authorities to suspension of international matches at the venue for a period of time.

The problem with the pitch became clear after a ball from India seamer Sudeep Tyagi bounced alarmingly before going head-high to wicketkeeper Mahendra Dhoni.

The square at Kotla had been relaid in April but came in for fierce criticism during both the Champions League and the one-day series against Australia because of its low bounce.

'National embarrassment'

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has dissolved its grounds and pitches committee after Sunday's incident.

The Delhi cricket authorities have apologised to cricket fans and offered to refund ticket costs.

Former Indian cricket board chief and federal minister Sharad Pawar has described the incident as a "national embarrassment".

Media coverage and former cricketers were scathing in their criticism of the cricket authorities for allowing a game on an unreliable pitch.

India's Gautam Gambhir discusses the pitch with Sri Lankan batsmen Sanath Jayasuriya and Thilan Thushara
India's Gambhir discusses the pitch with two Sri Lankan batsmen

"Capital Shame", was the headline in The Indian Express newspaper.

"ODI Abandoned, Delhi shamed," said The Times of India newspaper.

"What is particularly troubling about the entire affair is that the world's richest [cricket] board cannot ensure the basic playing conditions needed to stage international matches," the newspaper said.

"What happened in Kotla would be unthinkable in any major venue in other cricket-playing nations".

Cricinfo, the cricket website, said Sunday's episode was a blot on Delhi's reputation as a host of international games.

"The latest episode is another blotch on New Delhi's reputation as a host of international sporting events," the website said.

"It was only a week ago when the Commonwealth Games chief said they could only pray that the venues would be ready in time for the games, between October 4-13 next year."

The games are India's biggest event since the 1982 Asian Games and are scheduled for October 3-14 next year.

The last time an international one day cricket match was abandoned because of an "unplayable" pitch was in 1997 during a India-Sri Lanka game in the northern city of Indore.

In February, a Test match between West Indies and England was called off after less than 10 overs at Antigua after the players and umpires found the outfield "sandy" and dangerous.

Both the match venues were given one-year suspensions.

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