Renowned curator G. Kasturirangan passes away

Late G. Kasturirangan picked up 94 wickets in 36 first-class matches for Mysore. He had also served as the chairman of the BCCI's ground and wickets committee.

After his playing days, Kasturirangan - an avid horticulturist -gained plaudits as a pitch curator.   -  Sportstar Archives

 

Former Mysore state cricketer and reputed pitch curator G. Kasturirangan passed away on Wednesday. He was 89.

Kasturirangan made his first-class debut for then Mysore state just after India gained independence. A fine fast-bowler, unique in the way he bowled off the wrong foot, Kasturirangan picked up 94 wickets in 36 first-class matches for Mysore.

He was picked for the Indian team to tour West Indies in 1952, but declined due to personal reasons.

After his playing days, Kasturirangan — an avid horticulturist — gained plaudits as a pitch curator. He served as the chairman of the BCCI's ground and wickets committee, and was recognised as one of the best in his craft. He also served as the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) vice-president.

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Former India and Karnataka player Vijay Bharadwaj recalled Kasturirangan’s impact on Indian cricket in the 80s and 90s. “He gave us fantastic pitches. Several of our Karnataka team victories in the 90s came on the wonderful sporting pitches prepared by Kasturirangan. Not just the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Kasturirangan was actively involved in turning other grounds like RSI into popular venues,” Bharadwaj told Sportstar.

Bharadwaj cited the 1999 Ranji Trophy final between Karnataka and

Madhya Pradesh at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium as proof of Kasturirangan’s fine work. The match was an exciting see-saw affair which lasted five days, with Karnataka prevailing by 96 runs.

 

In the KSCA league, Bharadwaj turned out for Bangalore cricketers, a popular club founded by Kasturirangan and his friends. “We’ve heard so many stories about what a terrific pacer Kasturirangan was. He was a thoroughly nice gentleman. He was kind and respectful to all of us players, even though we were only half his age,” Bharadwaj said.

Noted curator Daljit Singh, who served as chairman of the BCCI's ground and wickets committee after Kasturirangan’s tenure, stated, “The first BCCI ground and wickets committee was formed in 1997, with Kapil Dev as chairman. Kapil left the post in six months, and Kasturirangan took over. Dhiraj (Parsana), myself and a few others were committee members. We learnt so much from Kasturirangan. He was an energetic, hands-on professional, who had great knowledge of soils, grass and fertilisers. Kasturirangan laid a solid platform for all of us to thrive.”

Incidentally, it was during Daljit’s chairmanship that Kasturirangan’s son, K. Sriram, became a BCCI curator.

Former India captain Anil Kumble paid tribute to Kasturirangan on Twitter. "Sad to hear about the passing of G Kasturirangan. He will be fondly remembered for all his contributions to cricket. Heartfelt condolences to his family," Kumble tweeted. Fellow ex-international cricketers Dodda Ganesh and W.V. Raman also took to Twitter to pay their respects to Kasturirangan.

The KSCA condoled his demise.

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