New Delhi: The 22-yard strip at the Roshnara Club ground came under scanner on the first day of the Ranji Trophy match between hosts Delhi and Vidarbha as the match had to be stopped for 28 minutes in order to make the pitch playable after one batsman was hit on shoulders by a bouncer.
The pitch came in for heavy criticism from Vidarbha captain Shalabh Srivastava who termed it "under-prepared" while manager Ashok Upadhyay said that he had informed the Vidarbha Cricket Association and are mulling to lodge an official complaint.
Needing six points from the game, hosts Delhi opted for a `green-top` which saw Ashish Nehra wreak havoc getting six wickets in his first six overs as there was steep bounce on offer.
While Nehra swung the ball both ways, it was the second delivery of the 19th over from pacer Parvinder Awana that took off from the good length spot hitting rival batsman Amol Jungade on the shoulder. Vidarbha were already in trouble at 40 for seven.
Jungade was in pain and suddenly the Vidarbha players started complaining from the sidelines.
Match referee Sanjay Patil entered the ground to have a chat with umpires Syed Khalid and CK Nandan. The two captains Shalabh Srivastava and Gautam Gambhir also joined the discussion as the umpires decided to temporarily stop the match.
The match officials instructed the groundsmen to use heavy-roller on the strip followed by use of light roller.
Play was halted from 10:32 am to 11 am before action began much to the disliking of Vidarbha players.
"I didn`t know till the time of the toss as to which wicket we would be playing. Jungade is playing having taken pain killers. Another player Ranjit (Paradkar) has got hit on the knuckles, I have got a blow on the waist," Srivastava told reporters at the end of day`s play.
Did they want the match to be called off, Srivastava replied,"If the pitch is unplayable then the match could have been called off. But had we protested and not played, we would have had to forfeit the match. Even if we lose the match, we would do that with a fight. The pitch is still dangerous but full credit to Gambhir as he showed his class on this track".
It was a bad toss to lose admitted the skipper.
"Obviously, we would have fielded. If you know, you have a big well in front of you and need to cross to the other side, you would rather want someone else do it first, in order to gauge the danger," Srivastava said.
Manager Upadhyay said that they had expressed their displeasure to match-referee Patil. "He (Patil) cited BCCI rules which states that heavy roller needs to be used and even after that their is dangerous bounce, then there will be a fresh start on an adjacent pitch. When they used heavy roller we were seven down and batting became easier for Delhi".
Delhi coach Sanjeev Sharma on his part defended the pitch. "In a competitive first-class match, you can get hurt. Does that make the pitch dangerous??"
The infighting of the DDCA also came into the open as the all-powerful DDCA sports committee distributed a hand-written press release signed by convenor Dr Ahmed Tameem alleging that sports secretary Sunil Dev is not allowing Feroze Shah Kotla to host Delhi`s Ranji Trophy home matches.
The release also questioned debutant Navdeep Saini`s selection as he has not played any cricket in Delhi. This was done when the youngster was bowling and he did well to take two wickets.