No international matches are likely to be scheduled in Delhi till the year 2020, the Board of Control for Cricket in India revealed on Tuesday (December 5).
But it is not due to the conditions prevailing in the city. Rather, it is BCCI’s venue rotation policy.
“BCCI is pitching for their exclusive home season slot in February-March every year. They will only get that slot in February-March 2020 as per the new Future Tours Programme (FTP). Therefore, Kotla may or may not be in line for a Test match before 2020,” a senior BCCI official told PTI.
“As per the rotation policy, Kotla has now got its Test match and in November it got an ODI. Their turn will not come next year as India will perhaps have at the most one full fledged series,” he said.
“There are other venues waiting for their turn. Similarly in 2019, when the fresh Future Tours and Programme (FTP) starts, it will take some time for Kotla to get another game,” he added.
Scenes of Sri Lankan players wearing masks on Day 2 at the Feroz Shah Kotla was an indication of how severe the conditions were at the capital. Play was stopped for nearly half and hour as the players complained of breathing problems, especially seamers Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Gamage, both of whom struggled to bowl at full pace. The stoppages in play forced Virat Kohli to declare India’s first innings at 536/7.
BCCI acting secretary admitted at a press conference on Monday that scheduling of matches in Delhi in the winters could be a topic of discussion in future meetings. “Scheduling of matches in Delhi during this time of the year will be considered,” he told reporters at the end of Day 3.
Another BCCI official observed that the Board will be relieved for the time being as Kotla has had its share of matches.
“Now what will be the environmental condition in 2020 can’t be predicted in 2017. So if Kotla doesn’t get a match, it will be purely because of rotation,” the official said.
Similar scenes followed on Day 3 as Lakmal had a rough time after bowling just three overs and threw up on the ground. He did come back later on in the day and produced a good spell.