For the first time, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will give CDs of all Ranji Trophy matches to the five zonal curators and ask them to look into the behaviour of pitches.
Also high on the agenda is to make each association identify at least four first-class centres that can hold matches on a rotational basis.
Excerpts from an interview with Daljit Singh, chairman, pitches and grounds committee:
Are you satisfied with the way pitches were prepared this season?
Last year, we played the Ranji final at a neutral venue for the first time and everyone appreciated it. We should give this (concept) time.
I agree the pitches for the semifinals were in favour of the batsmen. But the quarters were played on sporting tracks.
Previously, we only saw fence hitting by the batsmen in the first three or four games. In the next half, there were dramatic changes in the pitches as the teams faced promotion/relegation. The board has now put its foot down on this.
Why is nothing being done to provide sporting pitches?
The BCCI is thinking of certifying curators and they will be accountable. A certain element of home advantage is acceptable but it should not be blatant.
Shouldn’t youngsters be made to play on bouncy pitches?
We are paying too much attention to senior cricket. If we can rear our juniors on bouncy, hard wickets, their mindset will be different.
I know of India under-19 teams wanting to play only on turning tracks at home. At this level, they should be playing on all kinds of pitches.
Like the Karnataka State Cricket Association, should foreign help be taken to prepare pitches?
It is not a good idea. You cannot prepare a pitch 4-5 days before a game. You need 6-8 weeks. Foreigners are not aware of local conditions besides communication with the groundsmen is a problem.
What is the way ahead?
The BCCI has published a guidebook for groundsmen and it talks about what goes into the preparation of a pitch, its maintenance and what needs to be done to preserve it after a match.