A quick look at India’s Oval!

If Dharamsala is far, head to Platinum Oval in Alur to catch a game of cricket amid the lush greenery.

Spectators watch the second 'Test' between India A and South Africa A at the Platinum Oval in Alur on Friday.   -  WRIDDHAAYAN BHATTACHARYYA

Enclosed by trees, green slanting slopes as seats — at times, makeshift plastic chairs — and three oval grounds; sounds like a perfect destination to watch a game of cricket, isn’t it? People in India often scroll through photographs of scenic stadiums, like Queenstown (New Zealand) and Arnos Vale in the Caribbean, and weave dreams. The Platinum Oval here is a quick flight to the unreal.

The Golden Oval and The Silver Oval are the other two facilities, each covering 75 yards. The real deal, however, lies in the 80-yard Platinum, which cut its Ranji Trophy teeth last season, thereby upping maintenance to host more matches in the coming years. The green top and breezy weather is the perfect stage for the upcoming seamers to learn a lesson or two.

On the sidelines of the second four-day game between India A and South Africa A, K. Sriram, chief curator of the Karnataka State Cricket Association, revealed how the ground is protected in the off-season and the developmental plans. “We have nearly 25 people working on three grounds. We prefer having green top wickets. All wickets, otherwise, are clay wickets. The grass recovery is very good. The maintenance in a clay wicket is better than red soil wickets,” he told Sportstar on Friday.

The Platinum Oval in Alur is all the more distinct for it has no specific capacity. Bring your own mattress and station yourself under a tree. The view is heavenly.   -  WRIDDHAAYAN BHATTACHARYYA

 

The wicket wears the neutral jacket from the second or third day. “It may assist the spinners due to the wear and tear. The weather has a lot to offer to the bowlers,” he added.

Despite the Indian Premier League, Karnataka Premier League and international cricket cramming into his calendar, Sriram ensures the oval wickets aren’t ignored. “We have regular moving of grass, watering, we correct the undulations, dribble the grass to lessen the bad patches. The routine work of a ground staff,” he said.

The crowd turnout varies. The India A game, surprisingly, had less takers on the first day compared to what happened during a Vijay Hazare game three years ago. “M.S. Dhoni turned out for Jharkhand which led to lathi charge. People came to know the superstar is playing, so the crowd became unmanageable.”

“We have a club house coming up with a gym and a swimming pool. We also have indoor practice facilities. It is 60 per cent completed and the project is expected to be completed in a year,” he informed.

The ground is all the more distinct for it has no specific capacity. Bring your own mattress and station yourself under a tree. The view is heavenly.