Canopy styled pitch cover: Bengaluru 1st among equals in India

Bengaluru: The drainage system at the Indian cricket stadiums have often come in for sharp criticism with Eden Gardens drawing most of the flak but courtesy Karnataka State Cricket Association's innovative 'Canopy Styled' pitch cover, strip at the Chinnaswamy Stadium was protected from the torrential rain that the city witnessed in the last two days.

Normally, in India a three-layered cover system with thick cloth being the first layer followed by heavy polythene sheets to protect it from getting wet is used. But in what can be termed as first in India, Chinnaswamy Stadium used a different technique to protect its pitch from getting wet.

Indian and South African cricketers during a practice session ahead of the 2nd test match at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Thursday. The canopy protects the 22-yardIndian and South African cricketers during a practice session ahead of the 2nd test match at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Thursday. The 22-yard is protected by the canopy. Pic/PTI

On both sides of the pitch, 12 poles (six each on either side) were planted and thick fibre sheets were used to form canopy or thatched roof style house to protect the strip from thundershowers.

Later, the groundstaff removed the cover once there was some sunshine for a brief period. When asked, a KSCA official said that former India batsman and KSCA secretary Brijesh Patel was the brain behind the innovative pitch cover.

Normally, when the traditional pitch covers are used, there remains a possibility that water might seep in and the
dampness could create a problem. If one uses the canopy styled covering, even the steady downpour will fall on the roof and there is very little chance that the rainwater can seep through.

While Australia and England have had portable pitch cover with wheels, in India, the traditional style has been employed, which has led to abandonment of matches after short and sharp passing showers. However with little sunshine over the past two to three days, the Indian team might not exactly get a pitch to their liking.

To get an absolute turner, the pre-requisite is to have bright sunshine for atleast three to four days when the groundsmen stop watering the surface. The sunshine then makes it bone dry and cracks appear on the surface.

Team Director Ravi Shastri was seen having a long hard look at the 22-yard strip along with bowling coach Bharath Arun. Both of them later had a chat with the groundsmen and were seen asking a few questions.

Arun later again spent considerable amount of time looking at the pitch and was seen engrossed in a discussion with team's premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

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