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The Rediff Special
Barabati Stadium, Cuttack
May 12, 2003
Orissa Cricket Association
Date of inspection: 20 September 2002
Present: Pradeep Chauhan (Curator - Assistant Secretary)
Asirbad Behera (Hon. Secretary)
Sathya Mohanti (Joint Secretary)
Ananda Chandra Nayak (Vice President)
Kasturi Rangan (BCCI Chairman Pitches and Grounds)
Probir Mukherjee (BCCI - Pitches and Grounds -East)
Bill Walmsley (NZ Sports Turf Institute)
Present condition of ground
The cricket square has been constructed with great attention to detail, with the result that it is level to a high standard. Hybrid Bermuda is still establishing on the block and Cynodon dactylon in the outfield. This is a stage of growth where a fertilizer programme would speed up turf coverage and help to crowd out weeds.
The light green colour of the turf indicates it would respond to nitrogen fertilizer. A balanced NPK fertilizer would help promote the strongest, healthiest growth.
I am very impressed with the high standard of smoothness and the uniform grades achieved on the outfield. Tractor harrowing and leveling has achieved an excellent smooth result.
It is pleasing to see the outfield is now irrigated with pop-up sprinklers. The practice pitches have been constructed the same as the main pitch. The OCA are to be congratulated on carrying out such an extensive reconstruction to such a high standard.
Prospects for sporting pitches
At this stage I am reluctant to predict the performance of the soils used for cricket pitches in India, because there is insufficient information about the soils, coupled with possible difficulties with the climate. I can say that if I had my choice of cricket soils, I would favour this soil because it is a pure dark brown/black soil with a high clay content. It is difficult to learn to manage these soils, but properly managed, they give excellent results in Australia, and South Africa and similar soils give good results in West Indies and New Zealand.
The key to managing these soils is to properly consolidate the block by pre-season rolling, then to maintain that density by keeping the block constantly moist. If the block is allowed to dry out and crack, density will be lost and pre-season rolling will need to start over again.
The best performance is where the cricket pitch soil is a damp, cheesy consistency below 25 mm depth. I recommend checking soil moisture content daily using a screwdriver and core sampler.
This is best explained in detail at a training seminar
Limitations on producing a quality outfield
I suggest the outfield turf will benefit from following a regular fertilizer programme.
The maintenance fertilizer programme is a minimum programme and the outfield may benefit from more frequent applications. This is best assessed during the playing season.
The superbly smooth outfield surface will benefit from frequent mowing using the three new outfield mowers.
Purple nut sedge is being hand-weeded from the outfield. One benefit of fertilization is that it produces a denser turf that helps to smother weeds.
Sand was mixed with the outfield soil to help improve the drainage. I was not able to sample the outfield to assess the nature of the drainage problem. Many drainage problems respond to soil loosening. This can be achieved by hand forking or using a Verti-drain machine twice per year or more often. Drainage problems need specialist investigation.
The Orissa Cricket Association is to be congratulated on purchasing, or planning to purchase, all the equipment essential for an international standard first class ground.
IT is planned to replace the BCCI roller with another roller. I hope this roller is 1.5-2 tonne per drum because a heavy roller is useful on strong black soils. I would like to see a 1 tonne, 0.56 and 0.25 tonne rollers available, all of 1 m width. The 1 tonne roller of 2.5 (8ft0 width has an effective ground pressure probably close to a 0.5 tonne roller.
It is good to see that the number of pitch and outfield mowers meets the required standard.
Organisation limitations to producing a high quality cricket venue
The OCA must be well organized to achieve such impressive results on the ground.
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