AS THE euphoria generated in the wake of the Indian Premier League (IPL) signing billion-dollar business deals is gradually waning, the challenges it will have to deal with are also cropping up by the day. The latest, in addition to availability of players and apparent differences over sponsorships with Cricket Australia, is the challenge to prepare the wickets suiting the demands of this particular format of the sport.
"It's going to be a huge challenge for the curators to prepare the wickets for the league. It's the end of the seasons and wickets would be pretty dead by now, offering low and slow bounce," said BCCI Pitch and Ground Committee chairman Daljit Singh. "All people come to see in this format of the game is slam-bang batting. We want wickets that can offer scores at least in excess of 150 and ideally around and beyond 180, something possible only if the wicket offers bounce and pace conducive for stroke-play," he said, adding they, however, have little time to spruce up the wickets to the expected level.
Nevertheless, he said, no efforts would be spared to achieve the goal. "The BCCI has invited Les Burdett, a curator in Adelaide, to take stock of the situation and suggest how wickets could be brought up to the desired level," said Singh. Burdett is curator at the Adelaide Oval since 1978, and is credited with having laid superb pitches in several countries.
Singh also said that he would ask associations hosting the IPL games to close down their grounds as early as possible. "The wickets are being used since September and though the Ranji season finished in December, the workload hasn't reduced as the associations continue to hold institutional cricket, corporate cricket, leagues and district cricket," he said, suggesting it would take a huge effort to restore vitality to the wickets.