As the start of India’s historic 500th Test comes closer, speculations are increasing about the kind of wicket which has been prepared at Green Park for this season opener against New Zealand. Memories of last season are still fresh among the fans, when rank turners were dished out in the name of home advantage to welcome then No.1 ranked Test team, South Africa. As expected, in places like Nagpur and Mohali, the visitors surrendered within three days.
Will it be the same this time around, especially in Kanpur, where in recent past we have witnessed turning tracks?
Well, the Green Park wicket will be dry, reportedly it has cracks in it, but according to the to head groundsman Shiv Kumar, it will not be a rank turner.
Talking with media, the curator mentioned, as the match is being played at the start of the season and the surface is less exposed to heat, the ball will not turn drastically over here. Though cracks are visible on the track, but a report in ESPNCricinfo mentioned, “Surface is quite hard. A knuckle knock on the pitch creates a solid sound.”
Also, according to Shiva, the binding qualities of Kanpur soil will make it difficult for cracks to open up within a short period of time. He feels, the first two days of this Test match will favour the batting side and the spinners will start making an impact from Day 3. Though the curator admitted, there will be turn at this surface, but it will be slow turn and batsman with decent technique will get ample amount of time to adjust.
In fact, experts believe, as there are predictions of cloudy sky and chances of some passing shower during the Test match, the swing and seam factor might come into this game. In that case, the likes of Trent Boult or Mat Henry will be handy for the visitors.
Meanwhile, with less than 48 hours left for the game, the pitch is still getting watered, unlike the Nagpur wicket last year where the cracks had become loose by the time the toss happened. The groundsmen are covering the pitch during the daytime and in the evening it is being watered and rolled to keep it as hard as possible during the toss.
This Test will be a historic occasion for Indian cricket, the entire cricket fraternity will be following this match. Thus, all the stakeholders will be looking forward towards a well-contested match, which lasts for five days and the pitch is going play a vital role in this.