File image of the Ranji Trophy© PTI
The Ranji Trophy match between Railways and Punjab at the Karnail Singh Stadium in New Delhi was on Wednesday suspended after the track was deemed “dangerous and unfit for play” by the match officials, who decided to have a two-day game on a new surface beginning on Thursday. As many as 24 wickets fell in just 103 overs with fast bowlers accounting for 20 of them when play was stopped by the match officials. Punjab was at 18 for 4 in their second essay after taking a 12-run first innings lead.
“I have never seen a wicket like that in Ranji before. The bounce was too unpredictable making the pitch very unsafe. What we have been told that the game will be played on a fresh pitch,” Punjab batter Abhishek Sharma told PTI.
“The umpires and match referee took the right call to abandon today’s play and start afresh tomorrow. Players put a lot of effort into preparation for this game so disappointed to see a wicket like that.” The decision was taken during the drinks break in the second session when on-field umpires K Madanagopal and Rajeev Godara discussed the matter with match referee Youraj Singh and also had a word with both captains – Mandeep Singh of Punjab and Karn Sharma of Railways.
With the Elite Group D game reduced to a two-day affair, a result is highly unlikely, which might affect both Railways and Punjab’s chances in the tournament.
Punjab’s first match had ended in a draw after bad light brought early end to their contest against Chandigarh, while the Railways had lost to Vidarbha by 194-run.
In the past too, tracks of Karnail Singh Stadium had been in news for the wrong reasons with BCCI’s technical committee putting the venue on a watchlist for producing poor pitches in 2011.
A year later, the venue was banned for two years from hosting games after the committee discovered that local curators had deliberately under-prepared the wicket to help Railways, forcing the team to shift their home base to Bhubaneswar.
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