The pitch curator at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow has allegedly been fired because the pitch gave too much turn for spinners during the second Twenty20 International between India and New Zealand. The visitors scored 99 runs in their 20 overs, while the Men in Blue scored 100 runs with one ball to spare.
Spinners bowled 30 overs of the 39.5 overs in which 200 runs were scored. It was also a record for the most overs bowled by spinners in a T20I. After the game, captain Hardik Pandya described the pitch as a “shocker.”
“To be honest, that was a surprise wicket. Both of the games we’ve played thus far. I don’t mind playing on challenging pitches. I’m all for it, but these two wickets aren’t designed for T20. “Somewhere down the line, the curators or the sites where we’ll be playing should make sure the pitches are prepared early,” Pandya said after the game.
According to The Indian Express, it was the Indian team who asked the Lucknow curator to modify the pitch at the last minute. For the game, the curator had allegedly prepared two black earth pitches. However, the host side requested a new red dirt field three days before the match. The time window provided was insufficient for the surface to be prepared.
Meanwhile, Sanjay Agarwal of Gwalior has been named the new curator for the Lucknow pitch, with the 2019 IPL in mind. This field will host Lucknow Super Giants’ home matches, and the BCCI cannot afford to stage a match on such grounds.
In terms of the game, India used three primary spinners, namely Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, and Washington Sundar. Deepak Hooda, a part-time bowler, also rolled his arm as the four spinners combined for four wickets and 55 runs conceded in 13 overs.
Meanwhile, the Kiwis bowled two wickets for 78 runs in 17 overs, thanks to Ish Sodhi, Michael Bracewell, captain Mitchell Santner, Glenn Phillips, and Mark Chapman.