Kanpur: Pitches in India might have had their share of criticism but the popularity of the soil from one of the villages in Uttar Pradesh, which is used in preparing cricket tracks, has transcended international borders.
Daroga Khera, a small village in Uttar Pradesh`s Unnao district about 25km from here, is not only attracting the curators across India but is also grabbing the attention of overseas pitch makers, who are already studying the nature of the soil present at a farm there.
One of the owners of the farm, situated on nearly a quarter of an acre, takes pride in sharing the information that the soil has already been used at various international venues including the crickets famous battle ground of Sharjah.
Malik Abdul Mukeem claims, "For all the cricket pitches which have been prepared at Sharjah, the soil was flown from this farmland."
"We first used to till the land but after some foreign cricket experts, who studied the nature of the soil present at our farm, informed us about its quality we stopped the cultivation and also took necessary measures to safeguard it," he said.
"We have some more land around the particular area but the experts say that does not have the same quality," he added.
The soil present at the farm is black in colour and is believed to be rich in the clay content, which makes it all the more useful in the preparation of the tracks.
"Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) had send the sample of the soil to IIT Kanpur and it was found that the soil contains more than 70 per cent clay content while the presence of sand in it is limited to just one percent," the pitch curator of Green Park stadium, Shiv Kumar said.
"The more rich the soil is in clay content the more binding it gives to the turf and the better it is," he informed.
He also revealed that after the findings of IIT Kanpur, the sample was also send to IIT Bombay for verification, and the results proved to be exactly the same.
Following this the demand of this soil has increased drastically.
Kumar said that the UPCA is using the soil at all the cricket stadiums present in the state including the Green Park stadium here.
The curator mentioned that recently a team of experts from South Africa also visited the village and took a sample of the soil with them for a study.
"If the findings hold true, then possibly the soil will also fly to South Africa," Kumar said.
UPCA director, Jyoti Bajpai said, "We use the soil to prepare all the pitches at Green Park stadium and the reason behind that is the clay content which is present in this soil is found no where else in the state."
The soil, meanwhile, with its increasing demand has become a rich source of income for the owners.
"Generally to prepare a cricket pitch about 3600 square feet of soil is required but since we share a good relationship with the owners it costs us Rs 40 per square feet but when it comes to foreign nations the prices increase many folds," said curator Shiv Kumar.