South Africa’s Chris Morris will make his maiden appearance for Delhi Capitals (DC) on Saturday. However, the South African speedster has noted a change – the pitch at Feroz Shah Kotla has slowed down as compared to last year.
“I think the biggest difference that I have seen this year is that the pitch is a bit slower. In the past wickets were good and were also quicker in nature. Now the ball is turning and stopping a bit, that’s probably been the biggest change that I can notice,” said Morris while addressing the media a day before the encounter between Delhi Capitals versus Kolkata Knight Riders at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium.
At a time when The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has directed franchises to prepare sporting wickets for the IPL, the sluggish track at Kotla continues to raise questions over the broader aspect of the game.
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) batsman Robin Uthappa who will most likely face Morris hasn’t had a good look at the surface but first impressions were quite different to what he has seen before.
“The wicket looks slightly different, doesn’t necessarily look like a regular Delhi wicket,” observed Uthappa.
However, looking at the broader picture he said, “It’s not conducive for viewership and T20 cricket is made for entertainment. For cricketers, it is extremely competitive but you have to have a wider perspective of what’s happening as well. You want it to be evenly balanced. Slow wicket is fine but rank turners, like Chennai, are not conducive for T20 cricket, doesn’t serve the purpose. So hopefully moving forward we will have wickets that are suited for T20s.”
“It’s batsman’s game. People come out to watch batsmen hit sixes and then bowlers defy the odds to get wickets on good wickets. T20 and cricket, in general, is moving in that direction. For viewership, it is not the greatest,” Uthappa explained further.
Such has been the impact of the track that Delhi’s best batsmen, Rishabh Pant has found it difficult to get going. “For the new batsman, the pitch was really tough. I usually don’t have trouble starting against spinners but today it was turning and holding up. Our best batter Rishabh Pant also found it tough,” said DC captain Shreyas Iyer after Chennai Super Kings beat them by six wickets last week.
Tickets have been sold out and a full house is expected on Saturday evening as Delhi battles Kolkata. Fireworks from Pant and Andre Russell are what everyone is looking forward to. Will the fans get their money’s worth or are we in store for a damp humdinger?