IPL matches in Dharamsala to be played on newly-laid ‘hybrid pitch’


PTI, Apr 15, 2024, 8:49 PM IST

Dharamshala's cricket stadium (Credit: PTI / File)

Dharamsala: The picturesque Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) stadium has become the first BCCI-accredited venue to install state-of-the-art ‘hybrid pitch’ to host two Indian Premier League matches this season.

“The hybrid track has been installed and the two IPL games will be played on newly installed surface,” a HPCA official told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

The Netherlands-based ‘SISGrass’, a part of the SIS Pitches group of companies, has been roped in for the first-ever hybrid pitch installation.

According to a press release, “this cutting-edge technology will transform the game by providing a more durable, consistent, and high-performing playing surface.”

HPCA president RP Singh said, “The arrival of ground-breaking hybrid pitch technology in India signifies a game-changing moment for our national cricket.”

Paul Taylor, a former England cricketer and SIS’s international cricket director said, “As we inject new and improved technological advancements into India’s vibrant cricket ecosystem, we foresee a catalytic effect on its growth trajectory.”

“At SISGrass, and working with fine turf specialists Greater Ten, our delivery partner in India, we are committed to investing in this ecosystem by providing top-notch facilities such as hybrid pitches,” he added.

SIS forayed in India after the ICC allowed the use of hybrid surfaces for T20 and 50-over competitions.

Following the success of installing hybrids across English cricket grounds, SIS decided to develop the technology in India.

The surface contains a small percentage of polymer fibre with the natural turf inside cricket stadiums. This composition is believed to be more resilient to stresses created during play, while prolonging life of the pitch, guaranteeing an even bounce and easing pressure on groundstaff.

The completed installations are still predominantly natural grass, with only five per cent polymer fibre used to ensure that the characteristics of an all-natural pitch are maintained.

‘The Universal’ machine, used in Dharamshala for the hybrid pitch, will be taken to Ahmedabad and Mumbai for creating further such pitches. It will remain in India for future projects.

In the UK, hybrid pitches are approved for T20 and 50-over competitions and will also be used in the four-day County Championship matches this season. The Universal machine has been used to install SISGrass at various grounds in England such as Lord’s, The Oval, Edgbaston, Old Trafford and Trent Bridge.

It must be noted that Dharamsala pitch and outfield came under scanner during the ODI World Cup last year and the entire playing surface was refurbished.

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