By Nadim Memon | Opening Doorz Editorial | February 26, 2017
Daljit Singh, Chairman of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) ground and pitch committee, visited Pune along with Dhiraj Prasanna, five days before the start of the first Test match. He stayed in a five-star hotel, with the air fare, to Pune and back, paid for.
Pandurang Salgaonkar, the local curator, had started preparing the wicket ten days before Singh’s visit. Salgaonkar had invested a lot of time in rolling the wicket, had ensured that there was an adequate grass cover, and was also giving the wicket a sound watering.
In walks Singh at the last minute and gives orders to change the nature of the wicket. Now, Singh is a BCCI curator and Pandurang better not lock horns with him. So he orders Pandurang not to water the wicket, and also asks him to shave off the grass. Daljit wanted to keep the wicket dry in order to aid the Indian spinner from day one.
We know what happened to the Test match: Australia won by a whooping margin and inside three days. Maybe, Daljit thought this was a T-20 match!
Who will take the blame for this now? The curator at the venue does a fabulous job and is certain that the Test match will last five days as the wicket he has prepared has pace, bounce and turn. But then, we have ‘experts’ in the BCCI committee who come in at the last minute and change the strip! Why then have curators work tirelessly and passionately to make competitive pitches?
We have to remember that those who dig a pit will fall into it and that is precisely what happened in Pune. It would be apt to award the Pune loss in the first Test to Daljit Singh. He is answerable.
Daljit Singh has completed 76 years. The BCCI office-bearers are paid a monthly salary. Should they not be held responsible for the Pune fiasco? We have people who have been in the BCCI for more than 25 years now and almost all are senior citizens. It’s time now to give them a farewell and bring in people who are passionate about the sport and who have the interest of the game at heart.
This is how the BCCI curators prepare wickets to help our cricketers perform in India and become international heroes. But when they tour abroad, they become ZEROES.
Let’s see what instructions the champion BCCI curators have in store for the benefit of the Indian cricketers in the remainder of the series. Bengaluru, Ranchi and Dharamsala are not going to be easy for the Indians.
We are dealing with a competitive Australian team that fights even on a turner, prepared to suit the home team!
(Nadim Memon is a man of the maidans. He is a curator, a sports lover, a cricketer, a footballer and more, importantly a fierce protector of maidans for the younger generation!)