Delhiite Virender Sehwag should know about Ferozeshah Kotla more than anyone else in contemporary cricket. The stand-in captain’s remark after clinching the five-match series against Sri Lanka 3-1, winning the fourth match at the Eden Gardens, was telling.
“We wanted to finish off the series here as I am uncertain about the nature of the Kotla pitch. We were keen on winning here on a good wicket since we don’t know what kind of wicket we will get in Delhi,” said Sehwag.
Sehwag’s words proved prophetic, though even he would not have expected the turn of events at the Kotla on Sunday.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was not sure either of the pitch quality on Saturday when he said that the wicket was “unpredictable”. Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara refused to take a call on the wicket.
The track had been re-laid more than once and it came in for criticism during the India-Australia One-dayer in October and before that during the Twenty20 Champions League. That time the pitch was considered to be on the slower side, not conducive for stroke making.
Batting great Sunil Gavaskar, in his pitch report on Sunday called the track a “hair transplant pitch”.
“I am not sure about it. It’s a hair transplant pitch with bald patches and some patches of grass.” he said. And within the first half an hour of play, the worst fears about the pitch came true.