Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla will not host any international match before 2020, here's why

The Indian players, however, did not need anti-pollution masks during the 135 odd overs they fielded

Cricket fans in Delhi may not see Virat Kohli & Co in action before 2020 according to BCCI’s Future Tours Programme (FTP).

“BCCI is pitching for their exclusive home season slot in February-March every year. They will only get that slot in February-March 2020 as per the new Future Tours Programme (FTP). Therefore, Kotla may or may not be in line for a Test match before 2020,” a senior BCCI official told PTI. “As per the rotation policy, Kotla has now got its Test match and in November it got an ODI.

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 Their turn will not come next year as India will perhaps have at the most one full-fledged series,” he said. “There are other venues waiting for their turn. Similarly in 2019, when the fresh Future Tours and Programme (FTP) starts, it will take some time for Kotla to get another game,” he added.

The Sri Lankan grievance came close on the heels of the furore that preceded last month’s Delhi Half Marathon which took place despite high pollution levels and an appeal by the Indian Medical Association to cancel the event. The second day’s play in the ongoing match was halted for 26 minutes after Sri Lankans complained of breathing problems forcing Indian captain Virat Kohli to declare the innings at 536/7.

 The Indian team, however, has taken the conditions in its stride with pacer Mohammed Shami casually stating that they are “used to suffering” and didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. The BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary, during a media conference on Monday, December 4, admitted that scheduling Test matches in New Delhi during this time of the year will come up for discussion.
However, another BCCI official observed that the Board will be relieved for the time being as Kotla has had its share of matches.
“Now what will be the environmental condition in 2020 can’t be predicted in 2017. So if Kotla doesn’t get a match, it will be purely because of rotation,” the official said. On Tuesday, December 5, the Lankan players wore N95 masks, required to protect the lungs from the poor air quality that has plagued the national capital for years now.

Pacer Suranga Lakmal had a rough time on the field after bowling three overs. Fielding at third man, he started throwing up on the ground and was taken off. In fact, groundsmen had to come out and put sand and sawdust in that particular area. Lakmal later came back and bowled a second spell and was quite impressive. He was one of the rare Lankan players not wearing a mask. The Indian players, however, did not need anti-pollution masks during the 135 odd overs they fielded.