Delhi cricket woes continue

From the desire of handing the reigns of captaincy to a responsible and disciplined player to finding the right combination to see the team past the first stage, the challenges for the Justice (Retd) Vikramajit Sen-administered association seem to multiply with every passing day.

Delhi has to find an alternative for Ferozeshah Kotla for the Ranji Trophy as the venue is set to host international fixtures involving New Zealand and Sri Lanka.   -  AFP

Delhi’s season of cricket woes seems to have taken off from last year. From the desire of handing the reigns of captaincy to a responsible and disciplined player to finding the right combination to see the team past the first stage, the challenges for the Justice (Retd) Vikramajit Sen-administered association seem to multiply with every passing day.

The Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), appointed by Justice Sen with former India all-rounder Madan Lal as its chairman, is working overtime to stitch the loose ends that dogged the team’s preparations in all age groups last year.

Kohli leads by example

From organising practice sessions, backed by basic facilities, to warding off the pressures from various quarters that influence team selections, including appointment of a new captain, the CAC has put up a stoic front. But the problems have only grown.

Like in the past, Delhi faces the issue of finding replacement grounds for Ferozeshah Kotla, which will be out of bound for the Ranji Trophy matches due to international fixtures. The authorities have received indications that Kotla could be the venue for a T20 match against New Zealand and the Test against Sri Lanka.

According to Board rules, the venue hosting an international match is not permitted to conduct any other match three weeks ahead of that fixture. Delhi’s Ranji Trophy matches against Uttar Pradesh (Nov 1 to 4) and Maharashtra (Nov 17 to 20) clash with the international matches slated at the Ferozeshah Kotla.

The Delhi team management is now looking desperately at alternate venues in Delhi. The grounds available are Roshanara Club, Karnail Singh Stadium, Palam ground and Jamia Millia ground. Given the current status, Palam ground is best suited for Delhi. The pitch and the ground are reportedly in excellent conditions even though Roshanara Club has offered its services to Delhi to play the two matches at its plus-green ground.

The Delhi team management is apprehensive about trying out the Jamia Millia, which has an untested pitch, while Karnail Singh Stadium may not be available for both the games.

The senior State selectors are also concerned at the “whereabouts” of fast bowler Ishant Sharma, who had claimed he was in England to play county cricket. Interestingly, Ishant had tweeted on August 14, “Contrary to the news rounds through various sites, have not signed Warwickshire or any other county.” But the lanky speedster has not reported for the ongoing preparatory camp.