The beaming faces said it all. “It was the most memorable experience for me when Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni walked across to congratulate the ground staff for what he believed we prepared the pitch he was looking for,” says a visibly content HCA curator Y. L. Chandrasekhar.

In coordination with his tried and trusted support staff including his deputy Mukesh, Srinivas, Yadgiri and Mallesh, Chandu, as he is more popularly known in cricketing circles, had taken up the task of preparing the pitch for the second Test between India and

Australia (March 2 to 6) with all seriousness three weeks before the big game.

Interestingly, this was the same pitch where India drubbed New Zealand last season and after that only one first-class game was played - Hyderabad vs Saurashtra match. A match which also featured left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja. So, in a way, the emerging all-rounder was pretty familiar with the playing conditions here and may be that was the reason he was the star performer on the fourth day and even producing that dream ball to dismiss Aussie captain Michael Clarke.

“No there was no pressure at all. For I always worked in close consultations with my Secretary M. V. Sridhar and Shivbhai (BCCI vice-president and former India off-spinner). Their inputs guided us in preparing this pitch,' insists Chandu after India vanquished the Aussies by an innings margin.

We had to do lot of watering for close to two weeks to ensure that it sunk deep enough to retain the moisture. Then we did the diagonal and the parallel rolling on the pitch to get the desired effect, he says.

Even while the fans were celebrating the triumph in the stands soon after the presentation ceremony, Dhoni made it a point to specifically acknowledge the groundstaff.

“This is the kind of pitch I was looking for. One which has something for bowlers and batsmen. Not the kind of deteriorating tracks people generally talk,” were Dhoni's comments.

Well, when Chandu and his support staff posed for a picture with the giant scoreboard depicting the true tale of India’s dominance, it was, perhaps, symbolic in more than one way. “We are pleased to be part of India’s two big wins in the two matches it played here,” says an elated Yadgiri who also ‘drives’ the drinks cart and has the privilege of interacting the players and getting to know what they exactly feel.

Keywords: CricketHCAPitchAustraliaBowling


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