CHENNAI: The BCCI has decided to abort the experiment of holding Ranji Trophy matches in neutral venues after trying it out in the 2016-17 domestic season. If a proposal from its grounds and pitches committee is accepted, one can see neutral pitch curators in play this season.
Last season, when all matches were played in neutral venues, the idea was to ensure no team takes home advantage which is undue. The committee had its representatives in attendance in each match to oversee pitch preparations. With associations set to host home matches again on pitches made by local groundsmen, the committee wants its men at all venues again as neutral pitch curators, to make sure that norms are not violated.
The five-member grounds and pitches committee forwarded this idea to the BCCI technical committee, headed by Sourav Ganguly, which has accepted it. Under normal circumstances, the next step would be the working committee’s approval. At the moment, it’s awaiting clearance from the committee of administrators.
“Reports were by and large good last year as far as pitches were concerned. With home matches back this season, the grounds and pitches committee feels its representatives should be present at every match to oversee preparations and see to it that nobody takes any undue privilege. It’s basically playing the role of a monitor because past record show that there are associations who tend to do such things,” sources in the grounds and pitches committee, told Express.
If accepted, it will be the first time in India that neutral curators will supervise preparations in the presence of the curator of the home association for domestic games. The grounds and pitches committee has one member from each zone — Daljeet Singh (North), Dhiraj Parsana (West), Tapas Chattejree (Central), Ashish Bhowmik (East) and PR Vishwanathan (South) — who are paid Rs 50,000 a month. To reduce the load on them, from last season each have been provided an assistant, on a monthly remuneration of Rs 35,000.
“To have one at each venue for every match, we need more. There are around 70 BCCI-certified pitch curators in India. We can select them from this pool. Last year, around 17 were picked and sent to different venues. This year, we can do something similar, if the proposal is passed. These supervisors were paid a daily allowance of Rs 10,000 last year. If the concept of neutral curators becomes regular this time, we’ll ask for a raise,” said sources.