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Focus moves off the pitch

When the Indian team arrive in the city to play the final Test against Sri Lanka at the Cricket Club of India (CCI),for the first time in the series skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni....

Written by Devendra Pandey | Mumbai |
November 29, 2009 1:12:39 am

When the Indian team arrive in the city to play the final Test against Sri Lanka at the Cricket Club of India (CCI),for the first time in the series skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won’t have to bother too much about the 22 yards in the centre.

After the glut of runs in Ahmedabad,the pitch at the Green Park Oval in Kanpur basked in the spotlight for the couple of days prior to the second Test. But with all the nostalgia associated with Test cricket’s return to this venue,the focus has moved off the playing surface (the fact India recording their third biggest Test win,with a day to spare,helps of course).

The organisers are leaving no stone unturned in sprucing up the venue. chief curator Prakash Adhav and his men have been busy giving final touches to the outfield over the last couple of days. With four days still to go,the CCI cricket secretary Milind Rege is reluctant to predict the nature of the track,but the former India cricketer is confident it will stick to its reputation. “At the moment I can only say that the pitch will be a true Test wicket. There will be bounce and pace at the start and as the game progresses,the spinners will get some help. Batsmen will also enjoy batting here as it is a true wicket,” says Rege. “The outfield here is very fast,and once a ball goes past a fielder,it will race towards the boundary,” he said.

While India,sitting pretty on a 1-0 lead,wouldn’t mind this match being drawn,the odds are against it. Rege said that this would definitely be a result-oriented pitch,and the numbers back that up.

With the Wankhede Stadium under renovation,Mumbai played three of their home Ranji Trophy games at the CCI last season,winning all of them comfortably. Paceman Dhawal Kulkarni and off-spinner Ramesh Powar played crucial roles,while Rohit Sharma slammed two consecutive centuries. The first Ranji game scheduled to be hosted here this season — between Mumbai and Orissa recently — was washed out.

Mumbai skipper Wasim Jaffer insists that the CCI will definitely produce a result. “I think the CCI is the only venue apart from the Wankhede which has a sporting wicket. It always produces an even contest between bat and ball. But with both teams possessing great spinners,the toss will play a huge role. Despite the early help for fast bowlers here,it is always a good decision to bat first,” the Mumbai opener said.

The notice-board near the reception at CCI holds a number of notifications for the members regarding the restriction in their access to the ground during the Test match. And while they may not be too pleased about that,chances are they will be served up a treat out in the centre.

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