Home advantage is one aspect that many feel should give Team India an edge over their opponents in the ODI World Cup beginning on October 5. However, it remains to be seen how far the 22-yard strips of the 10 venues go on to assist Rohit Sharma and Co. in the quadrennial showpiece.
At a meeting in Mumbai on Wednesday, head curator of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Andy Atkinson has specifically told the curators of all the Cup venues – including those of the centres hosting the warm-up fixtures – that they should try and avoid being pressurised by the home team (India) into preparing pitches that suit them.
Incidentally, in all the previous three editions of the 50-over World Cup, the country that staged the competition went on to lift the trophy: India (co-hosts with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) in 2011, Australia (co-hosts with New Zealand) in 2015 and England four years ago. This certainly reflects the significant role that home conditions can go on to play.
“The ICC head curator said the curators should try and make sure they are not pressurised by the home team when it comes to pitch preparation,” a BCCI insider, who attended the meeting, told The Telegraph.
“The focus should be on preparing a wicket that’s as sporting as possible and not something that favours the home side.”
The curators thus could well be up for some tricky times ahead as the Cup approaches, especially India’s opener against Australia in Chennai on October 8. Not always does pressure come directly from the home team, sometimes other avenues too are at play.
The surfaces should ensure the games go on to be as competitive as possible, Atkinson has advised the curators. "The wickets will vary as the nature of the soil isn't the same everywhere.
"But he wants such tracks that promise games going the distance," the Board insider added.
Cricket Association of Bengal curator Sujan Mukherjee couldn't attend the meeting owing to personal reasons.