Ever since the first Test match here in 1983 till the last one before this series in 2012, Dhiraj Parsana was the curator who laid out the pitch for every five-day game in Ahmedabad.
The veteran, now retired after serving the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) for more than three decades following a successful career as a left-arm bowler, admits that modern-day curators don’t have a choice but to cater to demands of the home team.
“Call them curators or groundsmen, I feel they are never allowed to prepare pitches their way. It’s been going on for the last 10 years. When I was a curator, my sincere attempt was to make a pitch that would last the whole duration of the game,” Parsana, 73, told The Hindu here on Tuesday.
A former member of BCCI’s Pitch and Curators’ Committee, Parsana feels curators are obliged to offer what is asked of them.
“He (curator) is an employee, so he has to follow orders. I was an employee of GCA for 36 years. In such case, you have to listen. If you are honorary, you can say I will do it my way. That’s the way it goes.”
Parsana famously stood his ground and refused to shave the grass off ahead of India’s Test against South Africa here in April, 2008. It resulted in the host being bowled out in the first session of the match by the Proteas’ pace attack led by Dale Steyn and losing the match by an innings.
“They asked me why there was some live grass and I told them that the pitch has to bind together considering the heat. My theory is the pitch should last five days and the batsmen and bowlers should get the result with their skills,” he said.
Refusing to comment on the pitches during India’s ongoing series against England, Parsana said he was no one to comment since even the England team has refrained from criticising the pitches.