Chandrasekhar: Curator par excellence

Y.L. Chandrasekhar, the Hyderabad Cricket Association curator, is in the reckoning to bag the ‘best curator’ award for the fourth successive time.

Y.L. Chandrasekhar’s communication skills have made him a big hit with cricketers like M.S. Dhoni.   -  V.V. Subrahmanyam

The Indian Premier League is not all about high-profile stars who showcase their skills on the pitch, but also about some gentlemen who play a significant role in the successful conduct of the event like the 59-year-old Y.L. Chandrasekhar, HCA curator, now in the reckoning to bag the ‘best curator’ award having won it in the last three editions.

Chandu, as he is known in cricketing circles, also happens to be the only certified BCCI curator from Telangana State and one who is widely acclaimed for producing the best wickets for ODIs and the IPL over the years.

His communication skills make him a big hit with stars such as Sachin Tendulkar, M.S. Dhoni and David Warner.

And, come May 21 when the final of the 10th edition will be played at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here under lights, the focus will be on the pitch. “I consider it one of the biggest challenges. The specific objective is to produce quality wickets. I must say that I am lucky to have a wonderful team of groundstaff who always chip in when the situation demands,” Chandu told Sportstar.

Interestingly, the pitch for the final will be the same one on which the inaugural match between defending champion Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore was played last month.

“Pitch preparation is never easy given the kind of expectations. And, if you remember, there were a few cracks in the pitch, large brown patches in the outfield because of the strike by the Uppal Stadium employees (which even led to serious doubts whether the show would be on),” he said.

Efficient groundstaff

“But, the kind of efforts the groundstaff put in to ensure that we have one of the best outfields and beautiful wickets is a tribute to their efficiency,” the curator said.

He brings in the rich experience of a research association with ICRISAT for two decades before joining HCA in 2008.

For all those regulars to Uppal Stadium, it was a familiar sight of big names of the game, including Dhoni, walking across to share a few thoughts with Chandu.

“I must tell you he (Dhoni) is such a gentleman, speaks with so much warmth and affection that you feel in the comfort zone. Like all great players, including Sachin, he too doesn’t have any airs,” he said.

And, Chandu is grateful to BCCI chairman of pitches and grounds committee Daljit Singh and the South Zone curator P.R. Viswanathan for their support.

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