UPCA to hire 'expert' for IPL 2023 to avoid pitch disaster: Report

Lucknow, Jan 31 (IANS) The Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) on Tuesday said it will appoint a pitch expert for the Ekana Stadium for the upcoming IPL 2023, in order to avoid the recent track disaster, which happened during the second T20I between India and New Zealand on January 29.

During the second T20I, no six was hit in both the innings and just about 200 runs were scored in close to 40 overs, which led to severe criticism of ‘spin dominating’ and slow pitch, by India skipper Hardik Pandya and cricket experts.

Apart from the pitch expert, UPCA will also rope in a professional for the outfield, a Cricbuzz report said.

“We are going to appoint two specialists who will take care of the stadium. One will be an expert on the pitch and another will be a professional on the outfield. We are taking required permissions from other state associations to hire their services,” said Ankit Chatterjee, the CEO of the UPCA.

Notably, India skipper had termed it a shocker of a wicket and not fit for T20 cricket.

“To be honest, it was a shocker of a wicket. Both the games we have played so far. I don’t mind difficult wickets. I am all up for that, but these two wickets are not made for T20. Somewhere down the line the curators or the grounds that we are going to play in should make sure they prepare the pitches earlier,” Pandya had said after India survived the spin scare and struggled its way to a modest 100-run target in the match.

The UPCA CEO also confirmed the association’s decision to part ways with the curator responsible for the preparation of the substandard pitch during the recent T20I.

The report further said that Surendra Yadav was the curator of the pitch and he is being replaced by a specialist from Gwalior, Sanjeev Agarwal while the association is yet to confirm the outfield expert.

“We want the playing conditions to be foolproof and we don’t want to take any chances for the IPL. The franchise also practises a lot at the ground and they need to have home advantage and we will make sure everything is in place for the IPL and we will ensure there are no such issues during the season,” said Chatterjee.

Lucknow has hosted the IPL in the past but for the first time this year, the city will have a home team, Lucknow Super Giants.

The IPL 2023 is expected to begin on April 1 and the BCCI has decided to restore the regular home and away format, which was discontinued due to Covid-19 related reasons in the last three years.

–IANS

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