Pitch a closely-guarded secret

Blame it on the ugly turn of events at the Eden Gardens, the wicket at the Vidarbha Cricket Association's Jamtha Stadium here was a closely guarded secret on Tuesday.

Gaining access to the venue without even a valid entry pass was easy, but crossing the boundary rope and taking a few steps in the direction of the 22-yard strip was enough to invite snarls.

The Kolkata fracas has left the BCCI wary, and unlike at the Eden, the board has taken control of the wicket. “I am not authorised to speak to the media," said curator Praveen Hinganikar. Leave aside speaking to the media, the curator was seen trying to avoid them as best he could.

However, a highly placed source told HT that the soil used for preparing the wicket would ensure it lasts five days. "The strip has been made of black, red and yellow soil. While the black and yellow soil binds the wicket, preventing it from crumbling, the red soil dries up quickly thus giving the surface some bounce. The wicket will assist the pacers as well as the spinners and last the full five days," said the source.

Sachin Tendulkar and Alastair Cook inspected the pitch before heading for their net sessions.