Developing quality playing surfaces is one of the essential steps needed to enhance the game of cricket throughout Asia. In recognising this, the Asian Cricket Council commissioned the New Zealand Sports Turf Institute (NZSTI) four years ago to provide expertise on cricket playing surfaces
The Institute has been working for sports bodies in New Zealand and elsewhere since 1949, and currently employs 25 staff. NZSTI Chief Executive, Keith McAuliffe emphasises that "a quality playing surface doesn’t just happen by chance, and that success requires getting everything right - from construction through to correct management." In the view of ACC Chief Executive Syed Ashraful Huq, “this kind of long-term, closely-knit program whereby knowledge is pooled and shared by all is unique in cricket administration and it is something that will have a tremendous impact on cricket in Asia. Without quality surfaces you cannot have quality cricket.”
Pitch Inspection at the Hong Kong Cricket Club
As part of their remit the NZSTI has developed a Curator Training Program, which is designed to build up a pool of experienced curators throughout Asia. These curators will in turn help to pass on the theory and practice of pitch and outfield maintenance and preparation. "Establishing a quality curatorship industry in Asia will not happen overnight", McAuliffe warns. "The three year training program has achieved the first step in developing and sharing knowledge on the art and science of pitch maintenance and preparation, but there is still much to be done."
Delegates of the Kuwait Curators Course, December 2004
|“A quality playing surface doesn’t just happen by chance.”|
The training courses have involved three week-long modules, which link the science of turf management with practical demonstrations. This year’s courses, recently held in Thailand and Kuwait, are the third and final module courses.
Course presentations have been made by senior consultants from the Institute, along with leading international curators. Topics have covered all facets of pitch and outfield construction and maintenance, as well as pitch preparation.
Inspection of the Block
at Sharjah Stadium
Senior consultants from the Institute are also working with cricket associations throughout Asia to help develop quality natural turf outfields, practice pitches and wicket blocks. The Institute will be scheduling its next visits to the Asian region early in 2005, focussing on those countries and associations that need their expertise.
|“Without quality surfaces you cannot have quality cricket.”|
The NZSTI have been very quick to voice their approval of all works undertaken by the region’s curators, under their consultancy. The Thailand course in particular, as evidenced by the playing surface at The Royal Bangkok Sports Club revealed just how successful the partnership has been. The program will undoubtedly see our Asian region cricketers playing on surfaces as good as anywhere throughout the world.
Filed December 17 2004