Curator sacked for ‘shocker’ pitch in India-New Zealand second T20I

LUCKNOW: The chief groundsman of the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow has been removed from his job after players and pundits complained of a shockingly slow and turning pitch for the second T20I between India and New Zealand.

The low-scoring match witnessed no sixes and remained equally hostile for batters on both sides while India chased the modest target of 100 with only one ball to spare. The wicket invited harsh criticism from all quarters with India captain Hardik Pandya calling it a “shocker of a pitch”.

The Indian media on Tuesday reported that the pitch curator, named Surinder was removed the next day of the match.

“The curator has been removed and replaced by Sanjeev Kumar Agarwal who is a very experienced curator,” reported an Indian news agency quoting a source in Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA).

“A lot of domestic cricket was already played on all the centre wickets ahead of the T20I and the curator should have left one or two strips for an international game. The surface was overused and due to the bad weather, there was not enough (time) to prepare a fresh wicket,” it added.

The pitches used in the T20I series so far left Indian skipper Pandy unhappy about their below-par quality.

“To be honest, it was a shocker of a wicket,” he said after the second T20I.

“Both the games we have played on so far. I don’t mind difficult wickets. I am all up for that, 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.”

Currently, the series is level at 1-1 with the decider to be played in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.

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