Groundsman sacked after Black Caps-India match

Publish Date
Tuesday, 31 January 2023, 12:21PM

A pitch curator has reportedly been sacked after India battled to a low-scoring Twenty20 win over the Black Caps yesterday morning.

It comes amid claims that India made a late request for a pitch swap before their last-gasp win at Lucknow, where New Zealand had set them a target of just 100 for victory.

This may have made the pitch conditions even worse but the curator has reportedly paid the price.

Ironically, the losing Kiwi camp was more generous about the unusual pitch conditions, whereas the victorious Indians led the complaints.

The series is tied at one-all after the Kiwis won the opener in Ranchi by 21 runs, with both pitches being described as “shockers” by India captain Hardik Pandya.

He said rather than being low and slow, there was too much happening off the pitch at Ekana Stadium

“I don’t mind difficult wickets - I’m all up for that,” he said, after the six-wicket win.

“But these two wickets are not made for T20. Somewhere down the line, the curators or the grounds that we are going to play in should make sure they prepare the pitches earlier.”

The Indian Express said the Lucknow curator had prepared two black soil pitches. But Indian team management asked for a fresh pitch made of red soil three days prior to the second match. This led to even slower conditions.

India’s bowling coach Paras Mhambrey said the curator needed to answer questions about the conditions, which led to 30 of the overs being bowled by spinners.

“There was a little grass covering on the middle but there was none on both ends,” he said.

New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham agreed the pitch was sub-standard, but added “the silver lining was it ended up being a bit of a low-scoring thriller”.

But Kiwi spinner Michael Bracewell strongly defended the conditions, and reckoned it was “cool to play on a different wicket”.

“A variety of wickets around the world is a positive thing…it’s exciting to try and figure out a way to play on these wickets,” Bracewell said.

“If you play on a wicket that is flat all the time you don’t get a true test of your skill.”

The series decider will be played at Ahmedabad on Thursday.

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission

Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you