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HindustanTimes Tue,22 Jul 2014

Cricket

Slow surfaces may queer the pitch for IPL
Nilankur Das , Hindustan Times
Mirpur, April 03, 2014
First Published: 00:58 IST(3/4/2014)
Last Updated: 01:01 IST(3/4/2014)

As the World T20 enters its business end, Indian Premier League organisers will not be very happy to see a trend that is emerging due to the wear and tear of wickets, if the tournament comes here that is. Conditions and wickets are going to play a significant role for the remainder of the World T20 and, of course, if the IPL matches are moved here. Inspection of venues for the IPL has already happened and franchise officials are paying regular visits to the venues Mirpur, Fatullah and Chittagong where the matches could be held.

Hosts Bangladesh have been run down by the media here for repeatedly failing with the bat, but they are not the only ones. Top Test nations like Australia, England, Pakistan and New Zealand have all been packed off for sub-hundred scores in the tournament. And all of these have come while chasing. New Zealand getting bundled out for only 60 against Sri Lanka in Chittagong has been the worst batting show in the Super 10s. But in Mirpur too, on three occasions, a team chasing failed to get past 100.

No respite
The two venues in Bangladesh have been hosting cricket non-stop since January when Sri Lanka came for a bilateral series. It was immediately followed by the Asia Cup and now the World T20. The groundsmen, under Gamini Silva in Mirpur and Zahid Reza Babu in Chittagong, have been working overtime to get the wickets ready. But by the time the first match gets over, the wicket gets bone dry. So, the team batting last on the day is faced with the toughest task.

The significant amount of dew in the evening in Chittagong has hindered bowlers, but with it staying away in Mirpur over the last one week, the toss is increasingly becoming crucial. So, from opting to bowl first that almost became a trend in the initial matches, the idea now is to bat first, like West Indies did against Pakistan on Tuesday.

Greedy batsmen
“The wickets have become slower over the course of the competition. But the tough thing for us in Chittagong was that the wickets got slower and drier and the outfield got wetter and wetter (because of the dew),” Sri Lanka coach, Paul Farbrace, said. Habibul Bashar, skipper of Bangladesh’s most successful World Cup team in 2007 when they beat India and South Africa, like Pakistan skipper Mohammad Hafeez, blamed it on poor shot selection.

“It’s because players are getting too ambitious with their shots. The wickets are not quite turning square, but they are getting slower, especially in Mirpur. We are yet to have a 200 plus score and teams have made 190 only a couple of times,” Habibul said. “People love T20 because action is happening every ball. But in these conditions you have to judge the ball when it is new and doing a bit. West Indies did Pakistan in the last few overs but then both Ajmal and Gul erred in line and length. Tanvir bowled much better in the last over,” Habibul added.


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