COVID-19 a challenge for groundsmen in Indore, Nagpur

Being in the red zone, Indore isn’t getting soil and fertiliser supply. Nagpur’s pitches remain unattended.

File Picture: Maintaining the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore has been a challenge for the authorities at the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association.   -  R.V.Moorthy

The Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore has taken a hit due to the coronavirus pandemic. After recording 99 casualties along with 2,378 positive cases as of Saturday, the city has been declared a red zone.

Maintaining the international venue has been a challenge for the authorities at the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association. They have arranged passes for three groundsmen to clean, water and mow the ground.

Chief curator Samander Singh Chauhan stressed on the need for more labour. “We need a lot of labour and diesel and petrol to use the machines. It is not being allowed at the moment,” he told Sportstar on Saturday.

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The MPCA is also constructing the Gwalior International Stadium off the Mumbai-Agra bypass.
 

At the moment, Chauhan needs supplies for pure maintenance work. “There is no supply of fertilisers. It usually comes from Chhattisgarh. We also need soil. Some of the red soil wickets need Mumbai soil which is not available. We have stock of  local soil,” he said.
 
The story is no different in Nagpur in Maharashtra. “We had a strict lockdown, we got permission to send a few people to do basic things like cutting the grass in batches of two and three. We haven’t been able to take care of the pitch yet,” said Anand Jaiswal, president, Vidarbha Cricket Association.

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Normalcy in KSCA

Since last week, people have slowly started reporting to work at the Karnataka State Cricket Association centres in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Hubli, Alur and Shimoga.

“Everything is normalised now. We have limited ground staff who are resident of the place. We have special permission from the government to come, water and keep distance.

“At Chinnaswamy, one boy is a resident there and then, the security people have been watering the ground. Since last week, slowly people are coming in batches of four or five to cut the grass,” said KSCA curator Sriram Kasturi.

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Cricket Association of Bengal curator Sujan Mukherjee has divided his work force in batches of three and four. “I had a team of 15, now around 12 of them are available, so I have divided their work and asked them to come in groups of four or five. One person cuts the grass while the others wait at a distance to water the plants. They get some rest too,” he said, adding that it is unfortunate that the Indian Premier League is in limbo. “The groundsmen usually get tips during the IPL, which is a loss for them definitely.”

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