All eight pitches at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium are being re-laid in a major revamp ahead of the new first class season. The tracks will essentially be ones with greater red-soil content.

Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) joint secretary R.I. Palani told The Hindu, “We at the TNCA were unhappy with the clay-heavy surfaces at Chepauk over the past three years.

“The pitches played slow and low, in sharp contrast to the earlier lively pitches here.”

“So we asked Dalji Singh, chairman, BCCI Pitches Committee, whether K. Parthasarathy, someone who has produced results with his pitches here, could re-lay the tracks in his own style even if that was not according to the theory put forward by some Board curators.

“Daljit said Parthasarathy could do the same as long as he used the right materials,” revealed Palani.

The 61-year-old Parthasarathy has been a curator at Chepauk for 42 years.

“My job is to bring life back to the pitches here, such as the tracks used for the 2001 and 2004 Test matches against Australia,” he said.

Parthasarathy said clay-based pitches did not suit the Indian conditions.

“You need to water the pitches excessively. Consequently, once the moisture dries out after the first day, they become slow and lack bounce. The turn, if any, is slow.”

Greater bounce

The red-soil pitch, he stressed, offered greater bounce. There was quicker turn with bounce for the spinners too from the third day.

The pitches have been dug up to 16 inches. Parthasarathy said: “At the bottom, you have two inches of river sand. Then, red bricks, placed lengthwise, occupy three inches. In between, there is one inch of river sand.

“Next, we have four inches of red bricks, placed sideways. Then, there are six inches of red-soil on top. After the grass is cut, we use one inch of clay to bind the top.”

“I have prepared similar pitches at the MRF Pace Foundation and these were lauded by the great Dennis Lillee for their pace and bounce.”

The new surfaces at Chepauk could take around four months more to be fully ready.

Parthasarathy is expectant that the pitches could be operational by the time Ranji Trophy begins in November.

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