DDCA unkind to Kohli

A visitor to the Kotla would be shocked to discover the stadium does not have a single portrait of Kohli in its photo gallery. The DDCA has not been known to treat its players with dignity. The facilities for training and practice, confessed a veteran, are an “embarrassment” for a Test centre.

Kohli, who is one of the most recognisable cricketers in the world, hardly gets a mention at the Ferozeshah Kotla.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

Virat Kohli is hailed as one of the greatest icons of the game in modern times, setting new benchmarks across the cricket fields of the world. But he hardly commands a presence in his own backyard – the Ferozeshah Kotla.

A visitor to the Kotla would be shocked to discover the stadium does not have a single portrait of Kohli in its photo gallery. It has walls spangled with portraits of Delhi greats, but that too tastelessly done. “Given the state of affairs at the Kotla, this can hardly be called unusual,” remarked a former Delhi cricketer.

The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) has not been known to treat its players with dignity. The facilities for training and practice, confessed another veteran, are an “embarrassment” for a Test centre.

The officials at the DDCA at various times have promised the world to the cricketers. A state-of-the-art gymnasium has only remained on the cards and the existing facility is out of sync with modern requirements.

In fact, many visiting teams have often complained of lack of proper amenities in the dressing room. Justice (Retd) Mukul Mudgal, during his tenure as the DDCA Administrator, had taken personal interest and worked to instil a cricket culture where the players and their requirements were accorded the priority. Things, however, have not improved.

Former stars, who have served Delhi cricket, hardly mark their presence at the Kotla. Stalwarts such as Mohinder Amarnath feel there is no “respect” for cricketers at the Kotla.

“It is the duty of the associations to honour players who have served with distinction. No player is going to beg for such recognition,” says Amarnath. “Overseas I have seen how former players are given place of honour.”

It is a trend worldwide to name galleries, dressing rooms, gates, in the name of former players.

Mumbai, Indore, Mohali, Hyderabad are some centres which have bestowed such honour on players while former West Indies captain Darren Sammy is the only cricketer to have a stadium named after him (in St. Lucia).

The Karnataka government had honoured Anil Kumble by naming a traffic circle outside the Chinnaswamy Stadium after the legendary leg-spinner for his 10 for 74 feat against Pakistan in 1999.

The DDCA authorities had announced that a gate would be named after Virender Sehwag when he became the first Indian to hit a triply century. He was also promised 200 gold coins. The offers have only remained on paper.

The cricket fraternity of the Capital is looking forward to the current DDCA Administrator Justice (Retd) Justice Sen to set up a Hall Of Fame honouring some of the greats who have brought glory to the association.

“A photo gallery of achievers could be a nice beginning this season,” said a player. Hope Virat Kohli figures in the list.