The BCCI curator K Sriram has okayed the ACA-VDCA Stadium pitches in Vizag that are going to host the fifth ODI between India and New Zealand on October 29, and also the second Test between India and England, starting November 17. “I was at Vizianagaram for the last three days, preparing pitches for the Maharashtra versus Saurashtra Ranji Trophy game. Yesterday the BCCI requested me to go and inspect the Vizag pitches and inform whether they can host the ODI and Test. I came this morning from Vizianagaram, inspected the pitches and gave a feedback that the pitches are fine for the ODI and also the Test,” Sriram told The Indian Express.
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“The fifth ODI (between India and New Zealand) is going to be played on Pitch No. 5, which has an even mix of red soil and clay. I’m happy with what I saw. It will be a good surface,” he added.
Andhra Cricket Association secretary G Gangaraju said, “Yes, the BCCI curator came today and gave his approval. There’s absolutely no problem in holding the matches. Now that the experts have given their opinion, I don’t have any concerns about the pitches. In fact, I was concerned about the second Test, whether the surface would last for five days.”
On Tuesday, Gangaraju had voiced apprehension over the quality of the ACA-VDCA Stadium pitches to this newspaper, and that he was awaiting the result of Wednesday’s pitch inspection.
This follows the Assam versus Rajasthan Ranji Trophy Group B game at the venue that got over inside three days. Assam were bundled out for 69 in 20.2 overs in their second innings to lose the contest by an innings and eight runs. There had been injury problems for the players because of variable bounce. Assam coach Sunil Joshi lambasted the pitch in a tweet that said: “This venue is supposed to hold test match I doubt about the conditions here, the pitch it is so unpredictable like a weather#kiwis ???”
“The entire square is re-laid, and for the last one month we had continuous rain. Still, the strip for the first Ranji match here this season (Orissa versus Vidarbha) was pretty decent. Sriram prepared the pitch for that game. Those who were in charge of pitch preparation for the second match made the mistake of not heavy-rolling it. So the surface was quite soft and uneven, and the bounce was low. They should have compacted the soil,” said an ACA official.
The BCCI’s general manager for cricket operations MV Sridhar allayed fears, giving the go-ahead to forthcoming international fixtures. “There was never any concern over the ODI, for that would be played on a different pitch. As for the India-England game, I think Dr Gangaraju was a bit worried because Vizag would be hosting a Test match for the first time. But I can assure you that preparations are going along the right track. Both matches will be held according to the schedule and there’s absolutely no problem,” Sridhar said.
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