Curators in Assam are being taught the science behind the surface cricketers display their art on.
The State needs curators for 21 cricket fields in various stages of construction besides upgrading the capacity of those engaged in at least five existing grounds and several multipurpose district stadiums.
On Tuesday, the Assam Cricket Association (ACA) began a seven-day workshop for curators and prospective groundsmen for understanding the finer points that separate good curators from the average ones.
“Curating a cricket pitch has come a long way. It is as much about soil engineering as it is about weeding, mowing and rolling,” Ashish Bhowmik, chief curator of the Board of Control for Cricket in India told 55 participants.
“There are two main hurdles before cricket in the northeast. One is high volume of rainfall and the other is lack of space for a good ground. Assam can manage land but the other States in the region find it tough because of the hilly terrain,” he said.
Apart from the basics of curation, the participants at the workshop are expected to be acquainted with the “types of soil clay” such as smectite (expanding) and kaolinite (non-expanding) that play an important role in cricket pitch-making and on “understanding the features of soil clays”.
Devajit Saikia, the ACA secretary said good curators are assets for cricket pitches, which play a big role in the outcome of a match. “Plenty of maintenance is needed for all sports played on turf with preferred soils. But cricket pitches come with complicated soil science problems and that is where the ace curators come in,” he said.
“It is important these days to provide maintain the pace and bounce of the pitches, prepare them according to the format played and ensure an even contest between bat and ball,” he said.
He also said cricket in Assam has gradually been moving away from multipurpose stadiums where all kinds of field sports are played. For instance, an exclusive cricket ground and pavilion was made in Furkating because accommodating cricket at the multipurpose stadium in Golaghat district headquarters was often becoming difficult.