SRINAGAR: The direction of cricket has been kept towards local custom, instead of global practice, in the newly-laid cricket ground at the Tourist Reception Centre (TRC).
The pitch, as was usual at this old ground, has been aligned in the East-West direction, instead of the North-South alignment followed everywhere else in the world. Officials of the Jammu and Kashmir State Sports Council (JKSSC) maintain that they upheld local tradition in laying the pitch, even though cricket pitches are normally laid north to south so that players can avoid the low afternoon sun which would be dangerous for batsmen facing west.
The ground at TRC has been freshly prepared by the engineering wing of the sports council. Nisar Ahmad, Technical Officer at the engineering wing, told Kashmir Reader that the earlier pitches at this 125 x122 meter ground were also oriented in the east-west direction. However, top JKSSC official Abdul Qayoom told Kashmir Reader that the cricket pitch needs to be oriented as close to the north-south direction as possible to allow round-the-day play.
The new TRC ground, in Qayoom’s opinion, cannot be used for playing competitive cricket.
“I have not visited the new venue as I was abroad, but I will suggest its realignment according to the set rule,” he said, adding that the rest of the pitches laid by JKSSC do follow the north-south rule.
Director of the newly-created State Cricket Academy, Mubashir Hassan, a former first-class cricketer and a BCCI-certified umpire, said that the direction at this venue has been altered because of the football ground next to it. He said players playing on a pitch laid north to south would send balls flying into the adjacent football ground.
He also said that many are not happy with the work the cricket academy is doing for betterment of cricket, and the criticism of the pitch arises from these quarters.
“I, too, have played at this venue and even then the pitch was aligned in the same manner (east to west). We have followed the layout,” Hassan said.