Lalit Modi wants fit pitches for IPL matches

At a time when the BCCI is desperately trying to save Ferozeshah Kotla from an International Cricket Council (ICC) ban over last month’s ODI fiasco due to an ‘unfit’ pitch, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has sounded a warning to all venues across the country – please prepare ‘fit’ pitches for the Twenty20 event or face the music.

According to sources, in an email written to all members of the governing council on Sunday, IPL chairman Lalit Modi has suggested that if any IPL match was abandoned due to ‘unfit’ conditions, the erring venue should be banned for 12 to 18 months. He also wants BCCI to tell the ICC to ban those venues from hosting international matches for the above period.

The suggestion has, expectedly, not amused BCCI’s mandarins who think that Modi is trying to poke his nose in matters which don’t directly concern him.

“Modi is not the ultimate decision-maker in the board and the timing of such an email is not appropriate as BCCI is fighting a case for Kotla,” a top BCCI official told TOI.

Meanwhile, sources informed that the BCCI has already advised all hosting associations to prepare “sporting pitches” for the India-South Africa series, which will be played just before the IPL. Therefore, there was no need for Modi to up the ante, the BCCI felt.

Modi also stated in the email that the IPL was fully “committed” to Kotla hosting matches, but that it had to be “deemed fit”. Sources said that to make sure the Kotla was ready, Modi has suggested three practice matches – either T20 or 50-over friendlies – to be played at the venue in the presence of at least one BCCI technical committee member.

Modi then wants these matches to be recorded and studied by technical committee members Sunil Gavaskar, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and Ravi Shastri. Based on their recommendations, the IPL would then decide on the fate of Kotla. IPL will take a call on Kotla around February 15.

The Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) didn’t sound too worried. “We are ready to host friendlies as and when required,” a DDCA official said.

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