The Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) announced plans to appoint a specialist in charge of the pitch at the Ekana Stadium for the upcoming IPL 2023 to avoid a repeat of the recent poor track conditions.
The recent second T20I match between India and New Zealand received criticism for the slow and spin-dominating pitch. In addition to the pitch expert, UPCA will also bring in a professional for the outfield. According to the CEO of UPCA, Ankit Chatterjee, two specialists will be appointed to take care of the stadium, one for the pitch and one for the outfield, with the necessary permissions being obtained from other state associations.
India's captain, Hardik Pandya, referred to the pitch as a "shocker" and not suitable for T20 cricket.
"To be honest, it was a shocker of a wicket. Both the games we have played so far. I don't mind difficult wickets. I am all up for that, but these two wickets are not made for T20. Somewhere down the line the curators or the grounds that we are going to play in should make sure they prepare the pitches earlier," Pandya had said after India survived the spin scare and struggled its way to a modest 100-run target in the match.
The UPCA CEO confirmed that the association has decided to sever ties with the previous curator, Surendra Yadav, who was responsible for the substandard pitch in the recent T20I match. He will be replaced by a specialist from Gwalior, Sanjeev Agarwal. The UPCA aims to ensure foolproof playing conditions for the IPL and wants to ensure there are no issues during the season.
Lucknow will host the IPL for the first time this year, with a home team, the Lucknow Super Giants. The IPL 2023 is set to begin on April 1, with the BCCI restoring the regular home and away format after it was discontinued due to Covid-19 in the previous three years.
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