Tuesday, January 31, 2023

India vs. New Zealand, 2nd T20I: UPCA official says Lucknow pitch was overused

India vs New Zealand, 2nd T20I: Lucknow pitch was overused, says UPCA official


MUMBAI: During the second Twenty20 International at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Stadium between India and New Zealand, a senior representative of the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association has attributed the pitch's poor quality to "overuse."

India reached their target with just one ball remaining in the match, with New Zealand scoring just 99 for 8 in 20 overs. During the match, which featured 30 out of 40 overs of spin on a track where the ball turned square, no sixes were hit—a rare occurrence in T20 cricket.

At the presentation following the match, Hardik stated, "To be honest, this was a shocker of a wicket."

"This season, we held too many tournaments at this stadium. We staged the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy league stage, the Women's Inter-Zonals, and the One-Day International between India and South Africa on October 6 of last year. This is not an excuse; however, this wicket has never been used in such a heavy capacity before. We had to hold a lot of games here because the Green Park stadium in Kanpur had a few problems. This kind of "rush of matches" can be managed in a regular center that has experience hosting games. But we didn't have the experience for that here," UPCA CEO Ankit Chatterjee told TOI from Lucknow.

"Because the wicket takes longer to recover after a game in this climate, the (cold) weather made things difficult for us. Having said that, our curator (Surendra Kumar, who has been fired), made a mistake. There is no escape from that. We can't blame other people. He stated, "The pitch was subpar."

Chatterjee stated, defending the location, "The previous international games here have all been high-scoring." We had time to prepare the track for an international match because there wasn't as much "load" on the wicket at that time."

The previous international match between India and South Africa, an ODI in Lucknow, saw the Proteas score 249 for 4 in 40 overs, and India responded with 240 for 8. On February 24, 2022, India scored 199 for 2 in 20 overs in the previous Twenty20 International, and Sri Lanka responded with 137-6.

Given that the Lucknow Super Giants will play their home games at the Ekana Stadium in IPL-2023, officials at the UPCA are looking to make a quick course correction. LSG will be playing at home for the first time.

"We have to take all the corrective measures in the next month or so, as per the directions of Rajiv Shuklaji (BCCI vice-president), because we know that something like this cannot occur in the IPL. Therefore, we are receiving two top-notch BCCI curators with international venue preparation experience. He stated, "One will be the specialist in the outfield, and the other will be the specialist in the pitch."

Ashish Bhowmik, the chief curator of the BCCI, declined to discuss the matter, claiming that his "BCCI contract does not allow him to speak to the media."

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