Encouraged by the positive feedback during the last domestic season, the Board of Control for Cricket in India will continue with neutral curators in the upcoming 2018-19 Ranji Trophy, a move that also scuttled the home state associations' habit of preparing pitches as per their wishes.
The matter came up for discussion during the two-day annual Curators' conclave, which concluded in Mumbai, on Wednesday.
While Ranji Trophy was reverted to the traditional home and away format last year, the BCCI introduced the neutral curator concept in order to stop home teams from preparing 'designer pitches'.
"We got a very positive feedback from all the curators this time about the neutral curator concept. There hasn't been any significant adverse report from the match referees with regards to poor or sub-standard pitches. So it was decided that neutral curators will continue for the upcoming domestic season also," a senior BCCI official told PTI on the condition of anonymity.
The other big reason is that neutral curators "can't be pressurised" by host associations.
"The tendency of the host associations to coerce the local curators into preparing designer tracks is a thing of past now. The feedback we got is that neutral curators were adept enough to stave off any kind of pressure that is put on them.
"Also if the local groundsmen are under pressure to suppose prepare a rank turner, he can always complaint to the neutral curator," the official said.
There was extensive discussion on how upgraded technology can be used for having better drainage facilities across all the stadiums in the country.
"Chinnaswamy Stadium has the best drainage facility among the stadiums. We are expecting that all the major international venues will have the same kind of drainage facility. The concept of sub-soil drainage was also discussed," he informed.
The team of BCCI curators was also praised for its work during the Indian Premier League (IPL).
"The standard of pitches during the last IPL was very good and the curators were praised for their work. The list of neutral curators will soon be released after the next round of meetings," he said.
Rixon to step down due to differences with PCB
Pakistan fielding coach, Steve Rixon has decided to step down after the two T20 internationals against Scotland next week as he is apparently unhappy with the Pakistan Cricket Board.
The differences between Rixon and PCB, in fact, have grown to such an extent that before the second Test against England at Leeds, Rixon even refused to come with the team to the ground for a practice session.
According to a report in the Jang newspaper, relations between Rixon and the board deteriorated over small complaints by the former Australian test wicketkeeper who had joined the Pakistan team's support staff two years back when Mickey Arthur took over as head coach.
“Rixon has several complaints like not being given proper residence in Lahore, slow internet connections at the academy, not getting the due protocol and delay in his monthly salary payment,” the report claimed.
It said that things came to a head before the Leeds Test which Pakistan lost by an innings and 55 runs when Rixon got angry after a delay in his salary of USD 8000 dollars being transferred to his account.
“He refused to accompany the team for the practice session to Leeds and left even Arthur and manager, Talat Ali surprised. Next day the money was transferred and he came to the ground with the team for the start of the test but remained unhappy and grumpy.
"When Hasan Ali dropped Jos Butler's catch on four runs, Rixon was very angry and gave a piece of his mind to the player in the dressing room."
Interestingly, the PCB apparently wanted to extend Rixon's contract as it was ending this year and had even assured him a 10 per cent raise in his salary.
“But when Rixon made some sarcastic comments during discussions on contract the PCB also became reluctant while Rixon in the meantime also got a good offer from a franchise in the Indian Premier League.”
The report said soon after getting the IPL offer Rixon used personal and family commitments as an excuse to leave the job and not seek an extension.
“He has decided to leave because he (Rixon) was not happy and the PCB is now negotiating with another Australian, Darren Berry to take over as the new fielding coach,” the report said.