Raipur: Cricket is the first love of Shamim Mirza. After teaching history in a college as assistant professor for 13 years, Shamim quit his job to pursue his dream. He turned down the offer of taking over as joint secretary of the State Cricket Association and became a pitch curator instead.
This week, the BCCI awarded the Central Zone’s best ground and pitch award to Raipur Stadium, under Shamim’s charge. Raipur was second overall across the country with 93 points. Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, with a score of 96 took the top spot. This ranking is based on the match referee’s report.
52-year-old Shamim was appointed an Assistant Professor in History in 1991.
Began as an amateur
Shamim’s real journey started in 1984. He says that Kapil Dev was about to arrive in Durg (then in Madhya Pradesh) in 1984. Pitch curators were busy making the pitch at the Annu stadium. As an amateur, he began learning how to work on the pitch.
He did his post graduation and M Phil in history. As an assistant professor, he taught from 1991 to 2004. In 2004, he left his teaching job and opened a medical shop so that he could dedicate more time to cricket. In 2008, Chhattisgarh got the status of State Cricket Association. Shamim was elected the Joint Secretary by the Board but he rejected the offer. Within a year, he began working on the pitch and completed the curator course in 2012.
Worked 16 hours a day to make IPL pitch
In 2013, Raipur Stadium got the Best Pitch Award for IPL. Shamim said, “We got to host the IPL matches for the first time in 2013. It was a new beginning for us. Our team worked for 16 hours. We stayed at the stadium for 25 days. The best pitch award was our reward for this hard work. I have set two targets for the Raipur stadium. First, making it the best test center of the country, and second, to make it one of the top 10 cricket grounds in the world.”