If you are a cricket fan, then in all likelihood you might have come across the term Pitch Curator. Like any other sport, Cricket also involves numerous elements that work synchronously to make the game interesting for fans and unbiased for the opponents. One such undervalued job is of a Pitch Curator. We often talk about the flawless batters and the unplayable bowlers, the coaches, the umpires, the rules of the game, and everything else. We also give enough importance to the pitch. In fact, a whole segment during any pre-match show is devoted to the analysis of the pitch. Then why not Pitch Curators? In this feature, we will look at the top five Best pitch curators of all time.
5) Sunil Chauhan
Sunil Chauhan is the pitch curator of one of the most picturesque stadiums in the world, the HPCA Stadium, Dharamshala. The only Indian to make it to the top five best pitch curators of all time, Sunil Chauhan has worked as an admin manager at the HPCA ground. While working as the admin manager, he attended a two-day seminar by the BCCI on pitch curation. He was won over by the seminar. Subsequently, he went on to attend a three-week course on pitch curation at Mohali. He gave up on his role as an administrator and took up Pitch Curating. He loves preparing decks that have an even bounce and some seam movement off the pitch, unlike other pitches in India and the subcontinent. The HPCA pitch normally offers lateral movement and good bounce to fast bowlers, turn to the spinners, and a great carry to the keeper.
4) Michael Hylton
Michael Hylton is the pitch curator of Sabina Park, Jamaica. Sabina Park cricket stadium is included among the fastest wickets to bat on in the world. The pitch, most of the time, sports a substantial amount of grass covering that results in extra pace and swing. Hylton is someone who is strictly against the notion of batting-friendly wickets that result in high-scoring games. He is known for preparing fast bowling decks that test an individual’s batting skills to the core. Though he emphasizes the fact that a technically sound batter can survive the initial period of discomfort and can capitalize later.
Ricky Ponting, Steve Smith, and KL Rahul have also proven his theory equitable as they’ve managed 150+ scores in Sabina Park. 33 Tests out of the 46 played have yielded a result in Sabina Park. The numbers improve significantly in the 21st century as 15 out of the 16 matches have given the result. The solitary drawn match was a rain-affected one.
3) Steve Bricks
Steve Bricks is the pitch curator of Trent Bridge, Nottingham. During the 7 years span of his service, he twice received the Best Curator Award by the ECB. Bricks has an experience of over 25 years preparing and maintaining pitches. Steve is known for preparing pitches that yield results in four-day games. His Test pitches make sure that the contest between the bat and the ball is a fair one. Bricks has also prepared pitches for One Day Internationals. In limited-overs cricket also, he makes sure that there is the slightest of help for the seam bowlers too. With two best curator awards in his kitty and a massive experience backing, Steve makes it to the top five best pitch curators of all time.
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2) Brett Sipthorpe
Brett Sipthorpe is the pitch curator of Basin Reserve, Wellington. Basin Reserve is a typical Test match wicket. It assists pace and swing during the first half of the match and spin during the latter half. However, batting too is not arduous on the wicket. Brett Sipthorpe has served as the curator of Basin Reserve for over nine years, i.e., from 2006 – 2015. In addition to the Basin Reserve stadium, he also curated the pitches at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington. Brett’s acumen as a curator is beyond a shadow of a doubt. The pitches prepared by him used to have green tops on days 1 and 2 while on day 3 the pitch used to flatten out gradually. This way both, batters and bowlers, come into the picture. The beautifully constructed pitches by Sipthorpe always ensured a thrilling contest between bat and ball.
1) Chris Scott
Inarguably, Chris Scott is the best and most respected pitch curator of all time in cricket history. Further, he holds an astonishing record of being the only curator to win the Man of the Match award. Chris Scott is the curator of Wanderers, Johannesburg. During the 3rd Test of New Zealand’s tour of SA, rain washed out the first day. After day one was completely abandoned due to incessant rain, the condition of the pitch, and the situation of the ground didn’t seem to offer any play on day two. However, Scott and his team worked rigorously to make sure that the pitch is prepared for day two. Similarly, day four also washed out due to rain. But once again, Scott and his team’s efforts and hard work ensured play on the final day.
In order to appreciate the commitment of Scott and his team, he was adjudged Man of the Match. The pitch of Wanderers is known to be pace-friendly and offers some assistance initially.
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