Venkat Sundaram faces a tough grind. Once the Indian Premier League gets over, Sundaram, who is the curator of the pitch at the Ferozeshah Kotla, is bracing for a four-month long haul at the wicket.
The pitch has taken some flak from IPL skippers, Anil Kumble and home captain Gautam Gambhir. But Sundaram is unfazed.
“I think we've done a satisfactory job,” he told the Hindustan Times. The pitch was panned and the venue banned for a year after an India-Lanka ODI was abandoned in late December.
“There have been runs and wickets. Yes, it is a bit on the slower side. I got the pitch only around mid-January and with the time we had on our hands, we have done well. In the dead of winter, we couldn't sow any grass, as there was no sun. Our main task was to make the pitch playable, and we have achieved that primary objective.”
After IPL-III's Delhi leg finishes on April 18, the Kotla will get a break till about September, when the domestic season starts. Then there will be non-stop cricket with the ICC World Cup followed by IPL-IV.
“We have to overhaul the wicket, plant new grass of the hybrid Bermuda variety, which is approved by the BCCI. We'll have to change the layers too. It will need a lot of work.”
In short the wicket will be redone once again. Previously, rye grass had been sown. “It can't stand temperatures of over 35 degrees Celsius. That was a mistake. In these temperatures, the grass would have burnt out.
“Too much fertilizer was used as well, which affected the binding quality. We are doing research on the soil as well,” he says.