When will the BCCI get down to brass tacks?

Written by: Suresh Parekh
Published: Saturday, October 7, 2000, 17:25 [IST]
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Rajkot: In this hour of crisis, if one were posed with a question - what is the need of the hour, with regards to Indian cricket? Well, nine out of 10, perhaps, will touch upon the topic of a foreign coach or the much talked up clean-up operation of the malady of match-fixing and a few, might even go for a change in the selection format.

But, is that truly the need of the hour? One begs to differ. In the midst of all this jostling, the Board seems to have shelved the most essential factor, which has now been discussed at length and in great detail for years on end but never materialised - the topic of good and sporting wickets across the country.

Except for the Board having invited two curators from the land of the Kiwi, who addressed a gathering of top groundsmen and curators almost three years ago, not much effort has been made in that direction.

The two wise curators had collected samples of grass and dust of the wicket of various centres and gave the essential knowledge about the art of wicket-making.

What happened to those samples and the report of those two curators nobody knows. It is very likely that the Board must have forgotten even the names of those two sweet birds, who flew from the land of Kiwi.

India need good, positive and lively wickets in major centres. Couple of years ago, the secretary of the Board Mr Lele told this writer that by sporting wicket we mean that it should help batsmen for the first two days and then on the third day there should be sign of some turn. And on the last two days, spinners should get the maximum help. But the wicket should last for five days and should play true to its nature.

Mr Lele for once hit the right note but the point is do we have genuine experts who really know about the wickets and can produce the king of wickets that Mr Lele was talking about. Perhaps, the answer is no.

Kris Srikkanth was appointed as the chief of the pitch committee last year. His appointment was hardly on merit. Srikkanth was the coach of the U-19 Indian team and it was common practice in India that the junior coach of the team will be an automatic selection to the senior post as was the case with Sandeep Patil and Aunshuman Gaekwad.

But when Geakwad's term ended, Srikkanth expected a call but to his surprise, it was Kapil Dev who took over. Srikkanth was disappointed and his appointment as the chief of pitch committee came as a compensation rather than on merit.

As easily as he was appointed he was done away with and the Board now have two new men at the helm. The experienced Kasturi Rangan and Dhiraj Parsana from Gujarat.

Kasturi Rangan is a seasoned person and perhaps no other curator possesses the kind of knowledge that he possesses. Dhiraj Parsana too is in the business of making wickets for nearly 25 years and his experience in preparing wickets on English soil can be counted as a plus.

But the question is, will they be able to produce and prepare the kind of wickets, which the Board is talking about? Will there be more pitches like the one we have in Mohali? It is indeed high time that BCCI take earnest decision and make sure that our bowlers gets the best possible wickets, which also will test our batsmen in the truest sense of the word. This will also help out batsmen gain confidence to play authoritatively on foreign tours where India have failed miserably for quite sometime.

And the reason for this have been, simply the hard, fast and bouncy pitches, which have exposed them time and again. This will be an oft repeated story in the years to come if we really don't produce the kind of wickets Australia, South Africa and West Indies have. Is anybody listening?

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