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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Eden Gardens - 3rd Test - Curator goes on medical leave

There is the playing and the protected area ! ~ the other day somebody asked, as to whether results in Cricket are predictable ?  By empirical data, people used to speak of how the ground would assist batting, bowling ~ specifically whether spinners or pacers and more…

For long there were theories that Chepauk would assist spinners and sure there would be a result.  The famous Indian spinners would be virtually unplayable in the 4th innings. On the same wicket, Andy Roberts bowled a magic spell.  Remember the bespectacled Narendra Hirwani and his debut in Jan 1988 at Chepuak ~ another Pongal special.  India won an important toss and made 382. Hirwani took three of the five West Indian wickets to fall on the second day. On the third morning, Hirwani clean-bowled Vivian Richards with a googly  went on to  finish at  8 for 61; in the Second against a huge target of 416, Vivian Richard’s WI were dismissed in 40 overs.  Hirwani was the wrecker-in-chief again with 8 for 75 and overall match figures of 16 for 136.  Sadly, Chepuak was to become a batsmen’s paradise with hundreds and doubles flowing later……..

The Third Test between the bruised Indians and visiting England would take place from 5th of this month at Eden Gardens ~ the premier ground at Kolkatta; the venue has hosted,many Test matches and One day Internationals but has come under a cloud now for different reasons.  The iconic Cricket stadium touted to be the largest in India in terms of capacity, underwent renovation prior to 2011 ODI World Cup.   The Cricket Association of Bengal retained the team of Burt Hill and VMS to renovate the Eden Garden Cricket Stadium. The renovated stadium includes a new clubhouse and players' facilities, upgrading the exterior wall to give the stadium a new look, cladding the existing roof structure with a new metal skin, new/upgraded patron amenities and signage, and general infrastructure improvements.

Heard of Curator ? – a curator (from Latin: curare meaning "take care") is a manager or overseer. Have heard more of him taking care of Library, Museums etc.,  In Cricket, he is an important person taking care of the playing area, or rather preparing the pitch.  In the game, the protected area or danger area is the central portion of the pitch—a rectangle running down the middle of the pitch, two feet wide, and beginning five feet from each popping crease. Under the Laws of Cricket, a bowler must avoid running on this area during his follow-through after delivering the ball.  The protected area is protected in this way because the ball normally bounces on the pitch within this region, and if it damaged by the bowler's footmarks it can give an unfair advantage to the bowling side.  Law 10 of the Laws of Cricket sets out rules covering the preparation and maintenance of the playing area.

Pitches in different parts of the world have different characteristics. The nature of the pitch plays a very important role in the actual game, it may even influence the selection of team.  Pitches in Australia have traditionally been known to be assist fast bowlers. In particular, the pitch at the WACA Ground in Perth is regarded as being possibly the quickest pitch in the world.  Down under too, Melbourne and Sydney are known to assist spinners offering purchase.  Green, swing promoting and humid conditions sums up the construction of English pitches. Indian pitches and attitudes have changed considerably in the past few years. Mohali and Nagpur have assisted pace bowling as some visitors like Dale Steyn exploited the conditions ruthlessly.   

At Mumbai, India had the spinning track, 3 spinners, Captain winning the toss; yet lost the match poorly.  So, the cricket pitch which is the central strip of the cricket field  of 22 yards continues to draw attraction; some stinging criticism too… 

The controversy surrounding the preparation of the Eden pitch took a turn on Saturday as veteran curator Prabir Mukherjee proceeded on a medical leave and termed the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) decision to sideline him for the third Test between India and England as an “insult.”  Reports suggest that Mr. Mukhejee, who has been preparing the pitch of the stadium since 1985, shot a letter to the CAB on Saturday morning and sought a “medical leave”. He also hinted that he may not re-join at all. The development came less than 48 hours after the BCCI sent East Zone ground and pitch committee representative Ashish Bhowmick to prepare a customised wicket at the Eden.

This comes amidst reports that the Indian Captain Mahendra singh Dhoni demanded another  rank turner for the Kolkata Test; the curator reportedly had stated that such a demand was not logical as two pitches cannot be the same. That had apparently prompted the BCCI to send Mr. Bhowmick to oversee the preparations. During England’s last appearance in Kolkata for an ODI in 2011, Dhoni had termed the Eden wicket as “ugly”, though India went on to win that match.   

Away from Eden Gardens, there is more news at Greenpark, Kanpur as there reports that an electrician is the  pitch curator.  Newspaper reports suggest that  an electrician is doubling up as pitch curator at the lone international cricket stadium here.  Shiv Kumar, who is an electrician with the UP Sports Department, is helped by a tubewell operator in maintaining the pitch and officials are baffled as to what the fuss is all about.  Officials are quoted as saying that this was nothing to talk about; Green Park stadium belongs to the UP Sports Department and they are free to appoint anyone for this responsibility.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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