Chinnaswamy Stadium pitch protected by canopy-styled cover

With heavy rains in Bengaluru for the past two days, the unique pitch cover used at Chinnaswamy Stadium seems more effective than traditional methods in ensuring the moisture from the rain does not seep in to the pitch. The second Test begins Saturday.

The pitch at Chinnaswamy Stadium stadium protected by a unique cover.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

Virat Kohli leaps during a practice session at Chinnaswamy Stadium.   -  PTI

The drainage system at the Indian cricket stadiums have often come in for sharp criticism with Eden Gardens drawing most of the flak but courtesy Karnataka State Cricket Association’s innovative ‘Canopy Styled’ pitch cover, strip at the Chinnaswamy Stadium was protected from the torrential rain that the city witnessed in the last two days.

Normally, in India a three-layered cover system with thick cloth being the first layer followed by heavy polythene sheets to protect it from getting wet is used. But in what can be termed as first in India, Chinnaswamy Stadium used a different technique to protect its pitch from getting wet.

On both sides of the pitch, 12 poles (six each on either side) were planted and thick fibre sheets were used to form canopy or thatched roof style house to protect the strip from thundershowers. Later, the groundstaff removed the cover once there was some sunshine for a brief period. When asked, a KSCA official said that former India batsman and KSCA secretary Brijesh Patel was the brain behind the innovative pitch cover.

Normally, when the traditional pitch covers are used, there remains a possibility that water might seep in and the dampness could create a problem. If one uses the canopy styled covering, even the steady downpour will fall on the roof and there is very little chance that the rainwater can seep through.

Little sunshine

While Australia and England have had portable pitch cover with wheels, in India, the traditional style has been employed, which has led to abandonment of matches after short and sharp passing showers.

However, with little sunshine over the past two to three days, the Indian team may not exactly get a pitch to their liking. To get an absolute turner, the pre-requisite is to have bright sunshine for at least three to four days when the groundsmen stop watering the surface. The sunshine, then, makes it bone dry and cracks appear on the surface.

Team Director Ravi Shastri was seen having a long hard look at the 22-yard strip along with bowling coach Bharath Arun. Both of them later had a chat with the groundsmen and were seen asking a few questions. Arun later again spent considerable amount of time looking at the pitch and was seen engrossed in a discussion with team’s premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

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