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Rapid Response to Arnos Vale pitch crisis

Rapid Response to Arnos Vale pitch crisis


Concerned about the pitch conditions at the Arnos Vale Playing Field, efforts are being made to address the situation.{{more}}

And, last Friday, local groundsmen – both from the National Sports Council as well as those employed by the National Lotteries Authority and the hierarchy of the NSC, were briefed on pitch preparations by head groundsman at the Beausejour Cricket Stadium in St Lucia Kent Crafton.

Taking a first-hand view of the pitches at the main facility, along with those at Arnos Vale Two and at the Wilf Slack nets, Crafton quickly established that much of the issues here, were of maintenance nature.

Crafton in his short interaction with the NSC ground staff, immediately pointed to the areas where they were falling short.

Inclusive of his recommendations were the amount of stalks and organic materials that must be present on the pitch, among other maintenance prerequisites for proper cricket pitches.

Speaking to the media afterwards, Crafton said: “It is always a ticklish thing for some ground’s person to come to an island and try to teach guys or speak about what they have been doing for many years”.

At the Arnos Vale facilities, Patrick John has been one of the persons in charge of the pitch preparations for the past 42 years.

However, in recent times, the Arnos Vale pitches have come in for much criticism for its slow nature.

In the last West Indies Cricket Board four-day regional match between the Windwards and the Combined Campuses and Colleges, the match ended within three days.

Significantly, though, there was appreciable bounce and turn on the first day, with the spin bowlers accounting for 28 of the 40 wickets which fell.

Scores in the match were CCC: 225 and 115; Windwards, 157 and 101.

The situation was similar last year, when the Windwards hosted Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana at the same venue.

Trinidad and Tobago had scores of 179 and 86 and the Windwards 260 and 6 without loss.

In the second match, Guyana made 151 and 211, and the Windwards, 276 and 87 for 6.

But it was dominated by the spinners, as they pocketed 27 of the 36 wickets that fell.

And, with the West Indies set to face Bangladesh from September 5 to 9 in a test match at Arnos Vale, Crafton thinks there is enough time to get things right.

He told local media personnel that he is expected to “eagle eye” the Arnos Vale preparation from his St Lucia base.

“Our main aim is to get it right for the upcoming test match … We will have eight to ten weeks prior to the test match to put in a full maintenance programme to go into the preparations,” Crafton said.

Crafton, who was recently appointed as pitch and field consultant for the 2014 Limacol Caribbean Premier League, in his generalisation noted, “…In terms of pitch preparations throughout the region, most of us have it right …in terms of the pitch preparation to an extent, but in terms of the pitch maintenance, that is where we fall short”.

A former St Lucia cricketer, Crafton has been in charge of the Beausejour ground since its inception in 2012 and is now regarded as the Caribbean’ s leading curator.

The Beausejour Cricket Ground has the acclaim of being the best cricket pitch and outfield in the region.

Crafton has attended several curators’ workshops, most recently one hosted by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in Dubai in 2012. (RT)