Kotla ODI was rightly called off: Gambhir

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/g/gambhir-nz.jpg' class='caption'> Gautam Gambhir said match referee did the right thing by abandoning the India-Sri Lanka ODI because the Kotla track was not fit for an international game.

Updated: December 30, 2009 15:41 IST
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New Delhi:

Contradicting his home association, star batsman Gautam Gambhir on Tuesday said Match Referee Alan Hurst did the right thing by abandoning the fifth and final India-Sri Lanka ODI because the Feroz shah Kotla track was not fit for an international game.

Even though Delhi and District Cricket Association claimed matches have been played on worse surface than at the Kotla and Hurst should have considered another track that was offered, Gambhir saw logic in Hurst's decision to call off the game.

"I think the Match Referee has done the right thing. He must have given it a serious thought. It was not an ideal wicket for a One-Day International match," Gambhir told reporters after he was signed as the brand ambassador of Seagram's Royal Stag Mega Cricket. (Read: Poor pitch leads to ODI abandonment)

India went into the fateful match with an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match ODI series and the game was abandoned after 23.3 overs because of the dangerous track where balls rose alarmingly.

Dismissing DDCA claims that the match could have carried on, Gambhir said, "The whole world now knows why the match was called off. Had the wicket been alright, there would have been a full match on Sunday.

"This is an embarrassing situation which doesn't happen often and someone has to stand up and take the responsibility," he said.

Gambhir's view was in stark contrast with DDCA vice president Chetan Chauhan's assertion that Sri Lanka actually "chickened out" of the match sensing a defeat and the match officials, including Hurst, did not make an honest effort to carry on with the match. (Read: Dhoni wanted Kotla ODI to continue, says Chauhan)

Following Hurst's negative report, the International Cricket Council has already sought an explanation from BCCI to be furnished in two weeks before it decides on the punishment for the venue, which may lead to a ban of upto two years. (Read: Does Kotla face an 18-month ban?)

Gambhir said but for the Kotla pitch playing spoilsport, India would have ended the year on a winning note.

"It was both embarrassing and disappointing. A 4-1 win would have looked more comprehensive. We wanted to end the year on a high with a win. It would have given us a momentum going into the tri-series in Bangladesh (starting on January 4)," he rued.

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