IND vs ENG: Former GCA curator Parsana opens up on pitch debate

Dhiraj Parsana, who had refused to shave the grass off ahead of India's Test against South Africa at the Motera in 2008, says curators have no choice but do as directed.

Former cricketer-turned-curator Dhiraj Parsana at his residence in Ahmedabad on Monday.   -  VIJAY SONEJI

Ever since the first Test match here in 1983 till the last one, before this series, in 2012, Dhiraj Parsana was the curator who laid out the pitch for every Test match in Ahmedabad. According to the veteran curator, now retired after serving the Gujarat Cricket Association for more than three decades following a successful career as a left-arm bowler, admits that modern-day curators don’t have a choice but to cater to demands of the home team.

“Call it curator or groundsman, I feel they are never allowed to prepare pitches their way. It’s been going on for the last 10 years. When I was a curator, my sincere attempt used to be to make a pitch that would last the whole duration of the game,” Parsana, 73, told Sportstar here on Tuesday.

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The former member of the BCCI’s pitch and curators’ committee, Parsana feels the curators are obliged to offer what is asked of them. “He (curator) is an employee so he has to follow orders. I was an employee of GCA for 36 years. In such case, you have to listen. If you are honorary, you can say I will do it my way. That’s the way it goes.”

Parsana famously stood his ground and refused to shave the grass off ahead of India’s Test against South Africa here in April 2008. It resulted in India being bowled out in the first session of the match by the Proteas’ pace attack led by Dale Steyn and losing the match by an innings.

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“They asked me why there was some live grass and I told them that the pitch has to bind together considering the heat. My theory is the pitch should last five days and the batsmen and bowlers with their skills should get the result,” he said.

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