When Daljit Singh took over as chairman of the Grounds and Pitches committee in October 2012, the state of the wickets in domestic cricket was going from bad to worse as even someone like Ravindra Jadeja had hit the first of his three triple-hundreds in Ranji Trophy in the 2011-12 season.
Dull draws were the order of the day as batsmen took the bowlers to the cleaners and teams fought hard to gain points on the basis of first innings leads.
The diktat was clear — bat long and bat the opposition out of the match. Out of the 116 games played, 69 were draws and only 47 yielded a result.
Cut to the current season and of the 114 finished games so far, only 51 have been drawn and two abandoned. The rest of the 61 matches have all yielded results — the highest in the last five years. But Daljit doesn’t want to take complete credit for it and feels that the curators have been forthcoming and their eagerness to learn has helped make the domestic matches more competitive.
"We have 41 certified curators now and seminars are held regularly to create awareness among the curators.
While the BCCI has come forward and given the Pitch and Grounds committee whole-hearted support, even the groundsmen are ready to gain more knowledge and be better equipped to handle situations.
"Also, the local associations must be credited for sending their curators for the seminars as it is very important to develop your skills and upgrade your knowledge to walk hand in hand with the changing times,” he told Mail Today.
That is not all, Daljit had recently proposed the idea of holding a Level-I course for curators and it has been approved. And the old warhorse feels that it will further improve the concept of pitch making in the country.
"Earlier we had just a 3-week training course to offer, but very soon we will start the Level-I programme for curators just like the ones for coaching and umpiring. I can guarantee you that it will change the whole scenario. To be honest, the idea to have the curators’ manual — originally written in English – re-written in different vernacular languages has further helped matters,” the chief PCA Stadium curator revealed.
While the ground conditions in most of the international venues in India are top class, the Ferozeshah Kotla cuts a sorry figure. But Daljit feels that it has more to do with internal matters than the wicket itself.
"See, I am not someone who has worked there on a day-to-day basis so I am not the right person to comment, but I feel that all the flak that the Kotla receives has more to do with internal manners than the wicket itself,” he said.
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