Former Wankhede Stadium curator and ex-Test player Sudhir Naik supports BCCI technical panel's recommendation to play all Ranji Trophy matches at neutral venues
Sudhir Naik, the former curator of the Wankhede Stadium, has lauded the recommendation of the BCCI Technical Committee to play all Ranji Trophy matches at neutral venues. So far, only Ranji Trophy knockout matches are played at neutral venues, while the eight league games were played on a home and away basis.
Curator Sudhir Naik (centre) at the Wankhede Stadium last year. Pic/Atul Kamble
The reason for the Sourav Ganguly-led Technical Committee to make Ranji teams play at neutral venues is to, "rule out the issues related to preparing specific wickets for home teams, as well as to expose players to play in different conditions," as stated by the BCCI in its press release yesterday.
In the last Ranji Trophy season, seven matches finished inside two days. The lure to clinch the one bonus point in outright victories has often acted as an added incentive for the home teams to roll out pitches to suit their strengths.
Naik served as Wankhede curator for a long time and later as honorary consultant before recently deciding to discontinue serving the Mumbai Cricket Association. "It is a very good recommendation by the Board. At least now, curators will be able to prepare wickets the way they want. There will be no influence as such because the curator will be neutral too," Naik told mid-day.
The former Test opener claimed curators are not treated with respect these days. "In the last few years, there has been intense pressure on curators to make specific pitches. The win-at-any-cost policy becomes important. When the team loses, the curator is the first target of the team, but nobody looks at the bad performances of the players. There is too much interest in how the wicket is prepared these days. In our time, we hardly bothered to have a look at the pitch," said Naik, who played three Tests and two ODIs for India.
He is convinced that the standard of domestic cricket will improve if the BCCI's Working Committee approves the Technical Committee's recommendation. "When the venue is neutral, the player has to make adjustments and adapt to conditions quickly. It is a good learning curve and will lift the standard of cricket," Naik said.