BCCI steps in to put the lid on pitch controversy

New Delhi: Stung by Rajasthan Royals captain Shane Warne`s scathing attack on changing the pitch for their home match, the BCCI sought to put the lid on the controversy, saying selecting the playing surface was the prerogative of the curator and the teams have no choice on the matter.

A last-minute chance of track at the Sawai Man Singh stadium in Jaipur for Rajasthan Royals match against Chennai Super Kings triggered off a controversy with a livid Warne slamming the decision as "ridiculous" and saying that host teams have the right to extract the best out of home conditions.

Warne expressed his displeasure at the post-match media conference yesterday, stating that never in these four years were they instructed on which surface to use. The Royals have always preferred a slowish track compared to the one that was selected by curator Venkat Sundaram.

The BCCI tried to douse the fire later in the day regarding the pitch change as fingers were being pointed at CSK which is owned by India Cements supremo and BCCI secretary N Srinivasan using their clout to influence the curator`s decision.

IPL Chairman Chirayu Amin issued a release to say that it was the curator, in consultation with the BCCI`s Ground and Pitches Committee, who decides the playing surface and there was nothing sinister about the change of pitch at Jaipur.

"The BCCI would like to confirm that its Ground and Pitches Committee sent recommendations for ground and pitch preparation to all host associations before the start of the IPL season. Included in the same was the advice that `the pitches should have good pace and consistent bounce," the release said.

"The committee members have visited a number of the IPL venues both before and, where necessary, during the season, and made appropriate recommendations, the priority being to ensure competitive and quality cricket," it said.

Amin in his statement also rubbished the concept that home team is allowed to take a call on the playing strip.

"Neither of the playing teams has a choice of the wicket, on which to play the game. It is the curator, in consultation with the Ground and Pitches Committee Chairman, who prepares the wickets", he said.