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The curator of the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow has been removed from his job for preparing a slow and turning pitch for the second T20I between India and New Zealand.
Though India won the game on Sunday with a ball to spare, the wicket received criticism from India captain Hardik Pandya, who called it a "shocker of a pitch". New Zealand were restricted to 99 for 8 in 20 overs and India had a hard time chasing the small target, winning in 19.5 overs. Spinners bowled 30 of the 40 overs in a match that had zero sixes.
"The curator has been removed and replaced by Sanjeev Kumar Agarwal who is a very experienced curator," a UPCA source was quoted as saying by PTI. "We will turn things around in a month.
"A lot of domestic cricket was already played on all the centre wickets ahead of the T20I and the curator should have left one or two strips for an international game. The surface was overused and due to the bad weather, there was not enough (time) to prepare a fresh wicket."
Agarwal has experience preparing pitches in Bangladesh in the past before being removed in October last year. According to the source, he will work closely with veteran BCCI curator Taposh Chatterjee.
Hardik has not been happy with the quality of pitches so far in the T20I series. "To be honest, it was a shocker of a wicket," Hardik told Star Sports after the second T20I. "Both the games we have played on so far. I don't mind difficult wickets. I am all up for that, but these two wickets are not made for T20. Somewhere down the line, the curators or the grounds that we are going to play in should make sure they prepare the pitches earlier."
With the T20I series level at 1-1, India and New Zealand play the decider in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.