By Khurram Habib
Ahmedabad, Feb 28 : The reconstructed Narendra Modi Stadium here at Motera, which is hosting the last two Tests of the four-match series between India and England and the subsequent T20 International series, is following a new trend in Indian cricket grounds of preparing pitches with two different types of soil.
The ground has six red soil pitches and five black soil pitches. The one used for the third Test was a red soil pitch and it came as no surprise that it helped the spinners early on the first day itself after it was left to dry.
Former India and Gujarat player Parthiv Patel too has a role to play in this.
When Patel first stepped onto the field of the Ekana cricket stadium in Lucknow in 2017 for a Duleep Trophy game, the mix of strips there gave him a pleasant surprise.
Generally, the trend uptil then was to have pitches of the same soil in one ground. But at Ekana, there were six red soil pitches and five of black soil turfs.
Patel, after finishing that Duleep Trophy tournament, flew back to Ahmedabad and while the stadium at Motera was being reconstructed, he relayed that idea to the local authorities.
The Gujarat cricket body then contacted then BCCI Pitches and Grounds Committee head Daljeet Singh and the idea to have six red soil and five black soil pitches was put to effect.
The grounds in Indore and Baroda have also followed a similar pattern, although the number of pitches are different.
“Parthiv was impressed by the Ekana pitch format and he called me from Ahmedabad, asking me to assist in the preparation of pitches at Motera. The reason why I insisted on having pitches of two different soils in Ekana and then at Motera was because it helps state teams travelling to other venues in south or to Mumbai to get acclimatised to the conditions,” Daljeet told IANS.
“Also, if you see, MS Dhoni had once said that red soil should be used in India. Now a lot of the venues are trying a mix. Initially, the GCA was planning only for a limitd number of pitches of one soil,” he said.
The then Gujarat Cricket Association joint secretary Bharat Dudhia said, “Since Daljeet was the BCCI Pitches and Grounds Committee head, he was consulted for the pitches.”
The ground also has practice pitches in a similar pattern — five red soil and four black soil — to ensure that practice can be held on the type of pitches that will be used in the match.