By Avinash Kr Atish
New Delhi, April 29 (IANS) In the era of continuous cricket, nobody wants to witness regular high-scoring or low-scoring matches. Rather they want an equal contest between bat and ball, which has been the hallmark of the ongoing IPL 2022, and sporting pitches have played a pivotal role in bringing that exciting duel between teams.
The league matches of IPL 2022 are being played across just four venues in Maharashtra — Wankhede, DY Patil, Brabourne and MCA Stadium. As a result, a lot of matches are taking place at a single venue — easily the most in the history of IPL — and it is indeed a very challenging task for curators to maintain the quality of pitches.
When the 15th season of the cash-rich league started on March 26 with the clash between CSK and KKR, stakeholders had doubts over the sustainability of the pitches for a long period of time. But a total of 41 matches have been played so far and it has maintained the sporting nature.
The world’s most popular cricket league has seen the exciting contest between bat and ball and credit goes to the pitch curators and their support staff, who have prepared true cricket pitches, which have swing for fast bowlers, true bounce which batters can trust on, and spin as well.
The curators have left a considerable amount of grass on pitches of all four stadiums to prevent them from cracking early and watering it well to maintain perfect playing conditions during the scorching summer. It is inevitable that the pitches will change over the course of the tournament and eventually will help spinners more but going by the trend so far, they are not going to be rank-turners.
The pitches at three venues in and around Mumbai — Wankhede Stadium and Brabourne Stadium, and DY Patil Sports Academy in Navi Mumbai — are all made of red soil while the fourth venue, the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune, is a black-soil surface.
However, quality players like Jos Buttler (499 runs) and Yuzvendra Chahal (18 wickets) have shown that different kinds of pitches don’t matter that much for them and they have the skill to perform well in any condition. In fact, no player or team can say that they have lost or won because of the conditions, which they used to do in the previous seasons of IPL.
Yes, it’s a reality that most of the spectators come to the stadiums to see towering sixes and lusty boundaries, but after a certain point of time, it also becomes boring. Eventually, everyone wants to play or watch cricket or any sports for that matter, to have that even contest, thrill and excitement and the sporting pitches in Maharashtra in the IPL 2022, are certainly giving that.
Anyway, the rules/laws, flat pitches, smaller boundaries make cricket a batter-dominated sport so the sporting pitches are very necessary to maintain the fairness of the game.