View Larger Map
That's the one...that's the home for some memorable moments of test cricket.
If its hallowed content of cricket history had transpired at Eden gardens, or one of the Mumbai stadia, it is possible that history would have been better presented and recalled by cricket watchers.
Stretching back fifteen years and over seven test matches, India has always won a test match in this period here and that many test matches, in a sequence. Cricinfo No draws in between and certainly no losses. I doubt if India has a happier hunting ground than this historical Delhi cricket pitch.
They lost here more than 20 years ago, soon after Sunny Gavaskar retired, to the Richards-led West Indian team in the winter of 1987. In this reverse-ordered match where both first innings were insubstantial, Cheeka, the current CoS played and so did Vengsarkar - the recently retired CoS. This was also the first match of the series v WI 87 which saw another selector, credited with the actual selection of Mishra and charged with the repair of Chawla, Narendra Hirwani, make his debut later. Madras 87
The Australians are coming here, to such a Delhi from Mohali, to play a test match. They come as underdogs - not strange for Australia in India, but surprising all the same in the overall context.
Ricky Ponting finds himself in a unique position - of having to turn Australian fortunes around is not stuff of uniqueness - to have to do that, knowing he doesn't have the boom-boom-boomers for it, means he will have to be cunningly creative with whatever ack-ack he has. That, to me is an evolutionary step for Ricky Ponting as captain. He has been "creative" in the past, but that didn't wash well with anybody but the most jingo of the Australian fans. This time, he has to be creatively creative...like someone breathing a new life into the team and his own dreams (he still hasn't won a test series here as skip), like what Allan Border did to a team swamped under reconstruction all those years ago. A truly unique test of Ricky.
The last time both teams met here, Tendulkar led India to a crushing seven-wicket victory over Mark Taylor's Australians.First B-G Trophy match This was the only match of the series, set-up soon after the England series which saw the emergence of Ganguly and Dravid. This was also the inaugural match of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy - the only match of the series.
Later during the tour, the infamous triangular Titan Cup transpiredCricinfo - the one which proved the undoing of a set of cricketing stars - between Australia, India and South Africa. The very same Titan Cup which Hansie Cronje confessed to later.CBI Report
But I digress...
Ferozeshah Kotla is where Sunny first equalled The Don's world record 29 centuries29 - TCWJ, Cricinfo. It was also here that Sachin Tendulkar went beyond Sunny's record total of 34 test hundreds Cricinfo with his 35th, against the visiting Sri Lankan team of 2005. He must look forward to score his 40th here as well! The first time anybody would have scored 40 test centuries!
This is also the pitch where Anil Kumble took all ten.Cricinfo No wonder he is raring to go today!Cricket 365.com
"While I unfortunately had to sit this one out, I'm raring to get going at the Kotla, my favourite Test centre," - Anil Kumble following Mohali
Anil Kumble is also the leading wicket-taker at this stadium in test matches. Most Wks @ Kotla At this ground where Mishra has also played plenty of his cricket.
In the last six months, Kumble, the great bowler that he is, has bowled in seven innings for a return of eight wickets at an average of 70.00. Cricinfo Since most of those innings were in Sri Lanka only, let us go back an entire year for a more objective idea of form. Last 12 months
50 wickets at about 10 points above normal average and a strike rate which is about 12 points off his usual. It is possible the reason for this year's performance is the very same shoulder which finally seized up at Mohali - it is possible the shoulder was troubling him throughout this period, with Mishra not on DB Vengy's radar esconsed in BCCI HQ Mumbai, and Piyush scaring the pants off Kumble enough to force him to play on despite his troubles. Otherwise I am sure the figures would have been par with his usual.
Anil has declared his shoulder is better and that Mishra is a fine prospect for the future. Well, he is the captain, and must play. An injury sit-out is not the time to spring a mean trick on Anil.
Mishra may have taken seven wickets in two innings, but he must wait. Even though the princely throne is an unstable one - he has just displaced the previous heir-apparent - that's about as close he gets to the kingly throne at the moment. How he hangs on to the slippery sides of it, he must figure out himself.
But, it may all not come to that - Mishra may yet play - and not merely as a cover for Kumble but as a replacement for VVS Laxman!
I had mentioned earlier that two influential persons in Indian cricket had quietly let off a bomb under Laxman's undersides after Mishra performed at Mohali Merit Among the Pigeons - he hadn't scored in that test match, is not a Mumboy Tendulkar...sickle and hammer Ganguly...or a quietly ferocious software called Rahul Dravid, belongs to Shivlal Yadav's team in South Zone, and has been booted by Deccan Herald as well...so easy meat - Times of India tells me that they actually are developing the idea of accomodation further into an actual playing philosophy!TOI
I would like to ask what is the logic here of the wise ones - India bowling is taking 20 wickets; Kumble's shoulder is better so he will take up Mishra's role and record at least as many wickets here: it is the Indian batting which has been precarious. Don't mask it with the glow of the first victory of this series. Don't mask it because of the ease of India's biggest run-margin victory which was essentially set up by its bowlers on a batting wicket.
All I ask is replace a batsman with a batsman if you want...if you want to replace Laxman at any cost, replace him with any batsman you have in mind...even if it is Rohit Sharma, though Chatteshwar Pujara is a better idea. But explain to me what is the logic of replacing Laxman with Anil Kumble? That too on a Kotla pitch where batsmen are required and bowlers do well - the last 8 matches have produced results, 7-1 to India Cricinfo - so batsmen are needed here while bowlers will do well.
How many of those 8 matches featured five bowlers bowling for India at Kotla?
This is ad-hocism if it happens. and the worst kind because it comes right off the top of the heads of two men considered wise, highly influential with one of them the NCA director, but that day in the avatar of TV commentators who had to give a good soundbyte but were afraid to say that either Kumble or Mishra should be dropped.
They fence-sat - both Sunny Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri back then - fence-sat like the shamelessly thick-skinned but naturally helpless row of bummed-up dawn-line sitters along the empty railway line outside your halted coach window waiting for a signal, who periodically keep expelling obscene soundbytes and foul odors up your way. Now their fence-sitting could become a strange ad-hoc nonsense philosophy...and they are supposed to share with us eediuts the great collective cricketing wisdom born in Shivaji Park!Geobeats - Video If you are a Mumbaiyya, aren't you supposed to reek cricketing wisdom even from where you aren't supposed to reek?
Disappointed - terribly, by those one looked up to as direction-givers of Indian cricket. Media wallowing appears to dilute this ablity and they forget that what they say can spawn plenty articles and as many controversies besides setting policies.
Hopefully things will not come to such a stupid pass as suggested by, otherwise smart men, and India's good record over the past 15 years at Delhi will not be destroyed by such cowardly suggestions.
Hopefully, by the time the Kotla test match comes along, such gaseous expulsions as we have heard and read would have been taken away by the wind, or forgotten like one forgets TV talking heads, and logical commonsense prevails in team selection WITH A VIEW TO SEAL THIS SERIES HERE AND NOW!
I'll say it for them, and for India, and for Mishra, without fear...drop Mishra if Kumble must play. At least now the world knows who is the next leg-spinner who will play for India...or should. Mishra knows and is gracious enough to allow Kumble to wind up his career as he sees fit...within physiological limits of commonsense of course.
Dropping Laxman is wrong in itself, but even if we consider that as an inevitable part of change, then a bastman should come in. Everything else is against commonsense and simple cricketing logic.
India vs Australia 2008-09, Preview 3rd Test at Ferozeshah Kotla, Delhi.