Ideal venue to start revival

Green Park has been a lucky stadium for India in the past

Ideal venue to start revival

 With the Twenty20 series coming to a disappointing end for India, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his boys would look to come out with more resolve in the One-day internationals series beginning here on Sunday.

Perhaps, India could not have found a better place than Green Park Stadium here to start their redemption saga.

The stadium, centered amidst the hustle and bustle of this cramped city, has a spin-friendly track where India have always found succour. With Dhoni in favour of fielding more spinners at home, it could well turn out to be an ideal venue for the hosts.

In the 13 One-day Internationals staged at the venue, India have lost only four times. The last time they lost here was to Pakistan, way back in 2005, but exacted sweet revenge in 2007. The West Indies was the last team to play the hosts in ODIs here in November 2013 and lost by five wickets. The Caribbean side had made 263 and India chased down the total with 23 balls to spare.

This time too, the pitch is expected to stay true to its traditional flavor with curator Shiv Kumar hoping the score to reach around 260 plus, a below-par score in modern game.
“The average score here is 230 plus. So we are hoping it will go beyond that,” Kumar said.

It may be recalled that Kumar was rewarded by Dhoni when South Africa had toured India in 2008. The turning track had helped India level the series in the third Test, which was skippered by Dhoni in the absence of injured Anil Kumble.

Unlike many other grounds in the country, the stadium is still draped in an aura of past. Two manually operated scoreboards, which need at least 40 people to make each function, bear testimony to that. The scoreboard has a big ‘M’ embossed in the middle with three light bulbs, denoting balls, on each side of the alphabet. If a players bowls a maiden, the ‘M’ blazes with light.

Meanwhile, the effect of the bottle-throwing incident in Odisha was visible here as well. Apart from the fence surrounding the ground, 20-feet high netted metal frames would be skirting the stands to avoid any recurrence of unruly crowd behavior. Also, water bottles have been banned inside the venue and the spectators would be given water packets. Only mobile phones and sunglasses would be allowed inside the stadium.

The security, too, has been beefed up with the men in khaki pervading the nook and corner of the stadium. The teams arrived here on Friday night.

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