Not unfair to have home advantage: Daljit Singh

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Kolkata, Nov 30 (UNI) BCCI Pitches Committee Chairman Daljit Singh feels that there is no harm in having a home advantage, though he promises to convert all the domestic pitches into quality ones over the next two years.

While the Indians have preferred playing on slow turners, the visitors often believe it gives the hosts an unfair advantage.

Talking to UNI, Singh said, ''It's not unfair to have home advantage, since every country has it's characteristics as far pitches are concerned.'' ''If you go Down Under to Australia or New Zealand you expect bouncy tracks. In fact in New Zealand you cant often differentiate the strip from the greens,'' he added.

''Similiarly, when we go to Australia what do we expect, bouncy wickets. When people come to India they will get wickets that will turn and I don't think there is any element of unfairness in that.

A certain degree of home advantage is always there,'' he said.

Singh has been instrumental in converting Mohali into a beauty.

The stadium not only boasts of world class stands but also top class outfield and wicket.

Talking about Eden Gardens, he said, ''Our players always play Test cricket on this venue, but for Pakistan some players are coming back after a long time, while others are completely new to the venue here. So there will be an element of surprise for them. It's natural.'' While Indian skipper Anil Kumble was happy with the slow turner that was provided at Eden Gardens, it was learnt that the Pakistan team was not too pleased with the brown strip.

Happy with the backing he was getting from BCCI to convert all the pitches to an uniform standard, Singh said, ''Pitches are of three quality --poor, fair and good. Our domestic players should play only on good pitches. Besides pitches are made scientifically.

You have to now the region's soil, grass and infrastructure and accordingly work on the pitches.'' Finally the pitches would be looked after by the NCA, he said adding that people are aware of the necessity of making first class pitches available to the domestic players to prepare them for international matches.

The BCCI pitches committee comprises of other four zonal representatives comprise of Robin Mukherjee (East Zone), Dhiraj Prasanna (West Zone), PR Vishwanath (South Zone) and Kishore Pradhan (Central Zone).

The committee is trying to bring professionalism into the set-up. Every effort is being made to ensure that fair pitches are prepared for any level of cricket played in the country.

''The Board has now issued a guideline to the associations that any BCCI match, whether it is Under-15, Under-19 or Ranji Trophy match or any BCCI-categorised tournament, the pitch must start with grass and a little bit of moisture on the first day.

That is the general guideline for all associations,'' Singh said.

The veteran curator said though guidelines have been issued, the application of the same is taking time since many curators have been following traditional methods for a long time.

''We are in the process of training them and they are being made aware of the latest developments in preparing pitches and outfields. All this is to ensure that on the first day the ball does not start turning or keep low.'' ''Also they have been asked to make efforts to produce hard, bouncy tracks. It encourages stroke-play and encourages catches going to the slip region. Over a period of time with the wear and tear, the spinners must get turn and bounce,'' he added.

Singh, a former Ranji Trophy player and the Punjab coach, said, ''The season for reconverting and improving pitches will begin form the middle of next year just before monsoon.'' Recently, BCCI invited a global tender and the state of the art machinery has been provided to all the 27 associations in India and that includes the remotest associations whether it is Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Gujarat or Assam.

UNI

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