'Excellent Test pitch at KSCA'

'Excellent Test pitch at KSCA'

Bangalore’s cricketing pride and joy had received a definite thumbs-down from ICC pitch consultant Andy Atkinson during his preliminary visit in December last year to inspect all the venues that will host World Cup matches early next year.

During subsequent visits, the Englishman gradually acknowledged the efforts made by the ground staff, headed by curator Narayan Raju, to get conditions up to international standards, and last week, Atkinson reserved special praise for Raju’s team for the pitch laid out for the second Test between India and Australia.

The October 9-13 match ended in the final session on the final day, after a fascinating tussle between bat and ball before India stepped up and settled the issue to complete a commanding eight-wicket triumph. “Please accept my congratulations for preparing an excellent pitch for the recent Test match at the Chinnaswamy stadium,” Atkinson told Raju through an e-mail. “It allowed the bowlers some assistance all through the five days but still the batsmen could score their runs attractively.

“This is just the type of pitch that is required to promote Test cricket and allow the players to exhibit all of their skills over the duration of the match, which in turn excites the spectators and makes them want more of this very exhilarating form of the game, in my opinion. Thank you and well done.”

Atkinson’s words of encouragement and appreciation will come as music to the ears of Raju and his tireless staff as they count down towards the World Cup. The Chinnaswamy stadium will host four matches during the mega bash, including India against Ireland, and Atkinson will again visit the ground next month for another inspection of what he called ‘the good works’ already completed.