The 22 yards is the most important area of cricket. Quite often these 22 yards decide fate of the game. We get to see different kind of pitches in different parts of world. In India, the wickets favor spin bowling and most of the time it favors batsman too. In Australia and South Africa, the pitches are very live and bouncy. Whereas in England we get a seam friendly wickets. But just imagine, how good it will be if all these different kinds of wickets can be prepared at single venue. This obscure task has been achieved by Yuvraj Kamble who is working as a curator for Green Earth organization. Yuvraj talked about the techniques which he uses to prepare such wickets.
“Basically there are certain steps that should be followed to prepare a pitch. We dig a patch 1 meter below the ground level and then start preparing the pitch. This patch has dimensions of 80 meter by 10 meter. Then there are five layers in which the work is completed. In 1st layer we put soil and stones to form a foundation. In 2nd layer there is a special type of rabbit used. Then we put some bricks in 3rd layer. 4th layer is one of the most important layer as an organic compost is used in it. The top most layer contains a mixture of sand and soil. Then we leave a space of 1 to 2 inch from top which is used later for plantation in order to put some grass on wicket,” Yuvraj explained.
He also told about the key elements required to prepare and maintain any pitch. He also told about how he made one bouncy pitch using these techniques. “Rolling and watering are the two fundamentals of preparing a pitch. Initially we use a light weight roller and let the soil settle on its own. We sprinkle some water to make user that soil particles hold themselves together and it doesn’t start to crack because of dryness. Now if a match is after 15 days then we progress based on trial and error method. After some heavy rolling and watering we test the bounce. It will vary depending on location and slope at that place. Then accordingly we adjust while rolling and watering. You get a good bounce when the surface is hard and hence heavy roller is used while preparing a bouncy pitch,” said Yuvraj.
He uses same kind of a soil that is being used at local cricket matches. According to him, the final outcome depends on how you apply your techniques on that soil while preparing the pitch. Yuvraj has a decent experience as a curator. “I am in this field for last 4 years. Earlier I used to work at Maharashtra Cricket Association. I was the co-curator at Subrata Roy Sahara stadium in Pune. I learnt a lot about curatorship over there from our chief curator Mr. Salgaonkar. I prepared a pitch for 2 international matches at Sahara stadium. Our owners at Green Earth wanted me to work there so joined them and now I am working with them,” said Yuvi.
We have recently created a pitch and the complete ground in Palava City in Dombivli. This pitch is very bouncy in nature.
He also talked about different kinds of pitches and outfields which he has prepared over the years. “I was called to make a pitch at one ground in Pune. It was basically a football ground. There I made a pitch by removing a turf and once matches were over then I again converted it back to football ground by removing a pitch. This kind of technique is used in Australia and New Zealand where they play footy for half year and cricket for the rest. I am also working on developing a golf course in Pune. It is spread over large area and it is quite a task to prepare it. Talking about cricket, I think now we have advanced technology by which we can prepare any kind of wicket anywhere, like I made one bouncy track. If you want wicket to turn then simply keep it dry so that ball will grip the surface and it will turn. For seam bowling, we keep some grass on pitch. Currently I am enjoying my work and looking forward to make some quality tracks in future,” said the curator.