Kolkata Knight Riders v Deccan Chargers, IPL, Kolkata April 21, 2008

Franchise asks CAB to hire Australian pitch expert

Cricinfo staff

A crumbling pitch was the focus of all attention in Kolkata (file photo) © AFP

Following Sunday's pitch controversy at Eden Gardens, the Kolkata Knight Riders has asked the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) to hire an Australian pitch consultant to ensure better playing surfaces for the six remaining home games. The Indian board has also asked Daljit Singh, the chairman of its grounds and wickets committee, to inspect the surface in Kolkata.

The match between the Knight Riders and Hyderabad Chargers was played on a crumbling pitch that came in for sharp criticism and on Monday Prasun Mukherjee, the CAB president, said the association acted on a request by Jai Mehta, the co-owner of the Knight Riders. "I told him (Mehta) we have no problems with that," Mukherjee told PTI. "The pitch is being prepared by our local curators under the supervision of Daljit Singh. The Australian pitch specialist, Daljit and our curator can jointly inspect the pitch and decide on the remedial measures."

The batsmen were caught off guard as early as the second over of the match, where deliveries regularly took a puff of dust from the pitch. VVS Laxman got hit on the knuckles early in his innings, Sourav Ganguly took a painful blow on the chest off a ball that kicked up off a good length and the spinners on both sides turned the ball square and got plenty of bounce.

Laxman and Adam Gilchrist of the Deccan Chargers slammed the pitch after the game and Ricky Ponting of Kolkata too concurred. The curator, Kalyan Mitra, apologised to both teams after the game.

However, Mitra, under flak for producing a flat pitch for the second Test between India and Pakistan last year that ended in a dull draw, appears to have the CAB's backing. "He will be in charge till the end of his contract in July. We have no plans to replace him," Samar Pal, the CAB joint secretary, told PTI. "We found that the wicket did not behave as it should have as the surface was dry. We are taking the necessary steps."