Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association
Date of inspection: 18 September 2002
Present: Ravi Shukla (UPCA)
J B Saxena (Curator)
G R Goel (Sports Office UP Government)
Shaikh Abdut Muqeem
Kasturi Rangan (BCCI - Pitches and Grounds Chairman)
Anand Shukla (BCCI - Pitches and Grounds - Central)
Bill Walmsley (NZ Sports Turf Institute)
Present condition of ground
There has been no maintenance carried out on the ground for some time. Grass is long over most of the surface and coarse grasses and weeds have established.
The main cricket block (100 x 50 ft) has been reconstructed using a light brown heavy silt soil. The soil was obtained locally. The river Ganges is only 0.5 km away. Four other pitches on the block had the surface layer removed and were top dressed with the old wicket soil before being re-laid. The block is looking bare where a heavy layer of topsoil was applied.
It is hard to see the ground being fit for cricket without considerable effort.
Prospects for sporting pitches
The light brown heavy silt soil is an alluvnm type of soil similar to Chandigarh and Kolkata.
The performance of this type of soil needs to be assessed against other soils over the next two years. There is potential to select lines of this soil with higher clay content, such as the soil used at Kolkata.
I expect the soil to be relatively easy to compact, but one that is likely to dry out quickly and begin wearing early.
Limitations on producing a quality outfield
I understand the reason that the UP government have stopped maintaining the ground is because it is proposed to re-shape the outfield with a uniform fall from the cricket square to be boundary. It looks like this could be achieved with a cut to fill operation moving soil from the high side to the low side, to correct a different in elevation of 1 metre (3 ft). If possible, I recommend against importing soil for this work as it could easily be of different quality to the existing soil. The `cut' side often needs more fertilizer to grow as vigorously as the `fill' side, so make sure a soil analysis is taken and corrective fertilization applied.
I recommend that the coverage on the outfield (not the cricket pitch) is killed off using glyphosate (Roundupr) to destroy perennial weedy grasses present in the outfield. Remove the surface 25-50 mm of soil and grass before construction begins for ease of construction and to remove most weedy grasses.
If time permits after leveling the outfield, apply irrigation and allow weedy grasses to germinate before spraying again with glyphosate. If necessary repeat a second time before planting Cynodon dactyl on. This will help to eliminate perennial grasses before planting.
It looks like the practice pitches in the outfield will have to be reconstructed after the earthworks, as they will be destroyed in leveling operations.
The comments made elsewhere in this report apply.
Organisation limitations to producing a high quality cricket venue
The UP Government and the UPCA need to work more closely together to ensure the smooth running of the ground. The period of neglected maintenance and the unusual timing of the reconstruction works indicates a lack of proper co-ordination and poor lines of responsibility.
In our view the best plan is for the UP Government to lease the ground to UPCA for a long term, or to sell it to them. There would then be no confusion over who is responsible for maintenance or development. It would be the responsibility of the UPCA. The UP Government would be saved the cost of ground maintenance.
It is unacceptable that a first class cricket ground be left unmowed for such a long period of time.
Even if the start of reconstruction is only days or weeks away, the ground should still be kept mowed, so that some cricket use is possible, and weedy grasses do not become well established.