No respite for England, curator predicts Kanpur run-riot

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Pitch curator Kumar said he would not be surprised if either of the teams goes on to post the biggest total in the Green Park Stadium on Thursday.

Updated: November 18, 2008 17:11 IST
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In what would be far from music to the ears of Kevin Pietersen, the pitch curator at Green Park Stadium on Tuesday predicted a bowlers' bloodbath when India host a beleaguered England for the third ODI on Thursday.

Licking their wounds after the twin battering in Rajkot and Indore, England's demoralised bowling unit required some help from the track to silence the Indian big guns. Curator Shiv Kumar, however, had no such good news to offer to the visitors.

"This should be a batting paradise. The bounce would be even, ball would come nicely onto the bat and the strokemakers would make merry," the genial pitch doctor said.

And as if to scare Pietersen and Co, Kumar said he would not be surprised if either of the teams goes on to post the biggest total in the ground.

"So far, the 294 India scored against Pakistan remains the highest at Green Park. I don't rule out a 300-plus score on Thursday," he said.

Asked what would be his suggestions to Mahendra Singh Dhoni in case the India captain approaches him, Kumar said should they win the toss, the hosts should bat first and set England an imposing total.

"The toss would not make much of a difference and the track would behave similarly to both the sides. But if he wins the toss, Dhoni should not have second thoughts about batting first," he said.

"Batting first would allow India exploit the bowlers' footmarks to the hilt. We have some world class spinners in the rank and they would just love bowling in the rough," he said.

"It's the first six overs, 20 minutes to be precise, that they have to be a little cautious for the ball might do a bit. After that, it should be smooth sailing for them," Kumar said.

The curator is happy with the consistency shown by the Indian team under Dhoni but says he would miss Sourav Ganguly who has quit international cricket.

"The biggest compliment I got in my 10-year-long career as curator was from Dada. After the India-South Africa Test match, he came to me and said 'you know your job, never change wicket at other's insistence, whoever it maybe.'

"He would seek details of the track, how much watering and rolling have been done etc. but he never interfered. I'll miss him this time," Kumar said.

Meanwhile, speculation was rife that Match Referee Roshan Mahanama would meet Kumar ahead of the match even though the curator said he was not aware of that.

"I've also heard people saying so but I'm not aware of any such meeting," he said.

Incidentally, the pitch Kumar prepared for the India-South Africa Test in April this year incurred the wrath of the International Cricket Council after the hosts wrapped up the match within three days.

Mahanama was the Match Referee in that Test as well and he submitted a negative report following which, the ICC issued a warning to the BCCI.

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