India and England cricketers may be in for a surprise once they have taken a look at the pitches being prepared for the first two Tests to be played at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium starting first week of February. The venue is traditionally known for its turning tracks, flat of late, but the BCCI curator V Ramesh Kumar is preparing a ‘green’ surface as he targets equal contest between bat and ball.

England are currently in Sri Lanka for a two-Test series that will conclude on Tuesday. By Wednesday, both the teams are scheduled to arrive in Chennai where they will enter into a six-day quarantine as part of measures against the coronavirus pandemic.

The two teams will square off against each other in a four-match Test series followed by five T20Is and three ODIs. Chennai will host the first two Tests before the action shifts Ahmedabad for the next two matches.

“A Chepauk pitch with an English look is being made,” Kumar told The New Indian Express. “I always believe there should be an equal contest between bat and ball. Pacers, spinners and batsmen should have something on the pitch and that is what cricket is all about. There will be grass cover because it needs to last five days. There will be runs for taking too.”

This is Kumar’s first ever international assignment. In fact, it’s the first time he’s preparing a pitch from scratch having earlier assisted other curators in preparing pitches for few IPL matches and so naturally, he was surprised when the responsibility was handed to him.

“I was surprised when I got the call,” he said. “I have assisted other curators for IPL, but I have never done a pitch on my own at this level. This is the first time I’m making a pitch from the scratch. I didn’t expect it to happen too soon.”

Chennai will play host to two Tests with just a gap of three days in between and the two pitches are being prepared simultaneously. “It is a challenging task because we are hosting back-to-back Tests with just three days gap and it is unprecedented in India. Quite frankly, it is being hectic because preparations for both the pitches are happening simultaneously,” Kumar explained.

The first Test starts from February 5.