Meet Jacintha Kalyan, India’s First Female Cricket Pitch Curator

Jacintha Kalyan has spent over a decade in India’s cricket administration structure, rising to become the country’s first female pitch curator. She currently caters to pitches used for India’s female premier league.

World-famous female cricketers grace the Women’s Premier League (WPL) each season with their immense skills, but there’s another popular lady on the block right now. Let’s get to know Jacintha Kalyan as she shares her journey to become one of India’s most-popular curators in recent memory:

Jacintha Kalyan Bares It All

Jacintha’s recent interview gave cricket fans several insights into her service as India’s first pitch curator. She expressed her desire to continue working in the WPL and displayed her pride as a top maintenance official in India’s premier cricket league:

I’m very happy to prepare the pitches for women’s cricket, that too we thought that last year they started the WPL and played in Mumbai and I asked our chief curator also that I’ll go and prepare that, then he said, don’t worry next year they’ll play in Bangalore only, you can prepare it then. That is true now, I’m proud to prepare the pitches for the WPL,”

Challenges of the job

Jacintha Kalyan notes several challenges are common, but she stays resolute in her duties as a pitch curator:

This is actually very challenging, with back-to-back matches every day, with 11 matches across four pitches. We have to prepare the pitches after the game for a day match because in the morning we can’t give the moisture, and we can’t do the rolling, in the late night, around 12-1 AM we have to prepare and go for the next day match,”

Learning the ropes

Jacintha Kalyan confessed that she didn’t know much about cricket rules before taking the job. She revealed that only 4s and 6s were easy to understand during her early years as a curator:

I’m not a cricketer, I used to watch the game once in a while. Except fours and sixes, I understood nothing. In 2014, Brijesh (Patel) sir (former KSCA Secretary) asked me to do some man management of the groundsmen. It took me around 6 months to get used to the role. Then he asked Prashanth (Rao) sir (the Chief Curator) to guide and teach me everything about the art of preparing pitches since he thought I showed interest,”

BCCI Exec Hails Jacintha Kalyan

Jay Shah is the current BCCI secretary and took to X (formerly Twitter) to hail the ground-breaking strides of Jacintha Kalyan in cricket:

In a historic stride for Indian cricket, Jacintha Kalyan has become the trailblazing pioneer as the first female cricket pitch curator in our nation. Taking the helm of pitch preparation for the inaugural leg of the Women’s Premier League in Bengaluru, Jacintha embodies the essence of determination and the will to break barriers,” Shah added.

The BCCI secretary also recognized Kalyan’s achievements as a curator and commitment to the job in India’s premier women’s league:

Jacintha’s ground-breaking achievement is a testament to her commitment and passion for the sport. Her role in overseeing the pitch for the Women’s Premier League marks a significant turning point in the sport, highlighting the evolving landscape of cricket in India,”

What are the Duties of a Cricket Pitch Curator?

A cricket pitch curator is responsible for several duties to ensure standard conditions across grounds before and after matches. Common duties of a cricket pitch curator include:

Collaboration with match officials and teams

Curators must collaborate with match officials and team staff to assess the standard of cricket pitches before games. These curators may also work with team captains on some occasions for feedback on how a pitch should be ahead of a cricket match.

Preparing the pitch

Pitch curators are saddled with grounds duties that involve rolling and cutting grass before cricket matches. Curators are also responsible for selecting soil types during pitch maintenance to ensure grounds retain the right moisture and toughness. Other preparation duties include watering, rolling, grass management, and so on.

Maintenance and repairs

Pitch curators are responsible for basic and advanced repairs required after matches. These individuals also effect repairs needed after harsh weather events. Curators also perform several maintenance duties on grounds that include:

Pest control – Curators use pesticides and other treatment methods to protect groomed greenery from harmful pests,

Weed management – Pitch curators also manage weeds throughout a cricket pitch that could affect the greenery’s overall standard,

Covering pitches – Curators cover cricket pitches to avoid adverse weather conditions from affecting grass and to maintain moisture levels.

Monitoring weather conditions – Pitch curators need to monitor weather forecasts before adjusting maintenance activities. This activity ensures pitches are always ready for use around the scheduled time for games.

Marking boundaries – Cricket pitch curators mark boundary lines throughout grounds to ensure every essential area gets its designated demarcation. Curators paint all lines to ensure they stay visible during matches.

Equipment maintenance – Curators are responsible for the maintenance of all machinery and tools used in preparing pitches. These tools can include watering systems, rollers, mowers, and so on.

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