'That’s the one thing that I can guarantee' - curator tells Ashwin what to expect of The Oval pitch
The ever-inquisitive R Ashwin got down talking to The Oval pitch curator to find an early insight on what to expect from the surface to be used for the marquee World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia. Before the ultimate clash starting Wednesday (June 7), the premier Indian spinner earned valuable inputs from senior ground curator Leez on the likely nature of the track.
While speculations have been rife for a dry, flat surface traditionally associated with the iconic ground, Leez confirmed to Ashwin that fans can expect their teams to counter pace and "bounce" during the marquee tussle.
During the conversation, Ashwin initially joked with Leez, querying if he the pitch prepared under him has some turn to offer to the spinners. To which, the curator reminded the great tweaker of the times he turned out for Surrey at the same venue and picked up eight wickets in an innings back in 2021.
Leez then stressed home about "bounce", insisting the pitch is guaranteed to offer the seamers healthy lift off the deck while spinners can also use it to their advantage to get it to rise on the batters.
Curator tells Ashwin: expect 'bounce' at The Oval
Giving the fans insight into Leez's brain and the pitch he has rolled out for the Oval track to be in play for the WTC final between the two great rivals, Ashwin took to his famous YouTube channel from the ground and got down chatting with Leez.
"You have always prepared good pitches. But today, some of our boys got hit on the practice pitches. So is it going to be similar? What do you think? It bounced a lot today. You don't like me? You don't get it to spin, right? Can we expect a nice and bouncy Brett Lee pitch?" Ashwin asked Leez.
"Good Oval Pitch. It will be bouncy that’s the one thing that I can guarantee, it'll be bouncy," said the curator in response.
Extra "bounce" off the deck would be a great news for the Australian seam pack led by skipper Pat Cummins and his equally tall-statured teammate Mitchell Starc. The inability to extract which from South African pitches to the degree the hosts did was the difference for the Indian team during their disappointing 2-1 series loss in South Africa early last year.