Jashim Uddin in Guangzhou, on the eve of the 2010 Asian Games

Renowned groundsman Jashim Uddin is in Hong Kong to be the new Hong Kong Cricket Association curator. He comes after completing a six-month long assignment at the Guangzhou Asian Games where he helped establish China’s first international-standard cricket ground. “It’s a great honour and privilege to be working in Hong Kong,” says the soft-spoken curator, “I have been lucky to get to know how things work in this part of the world and hope to use all that I know in creating the best possible surfaces for Hong Kong’s cricketers to play on.”

“Jashim came to us highly recommended by Guangzhou. What he did there in creating an outfield and seven playing wickets in such a short period of time, with little water, equipment that was late in arriving, support staff who were brand new to making cricket, and all without speaking the language is truly remarkable and the Hong Kong Cricket Association will be looking to use as much of his special skills as possible,” says Hong Kong Cricket Association General Manager Danny Lai.

Jashim, 43, has been instrumental in the creation of some of the most significant new grounds of recent years in Asia, having started his career in Bangladesh, at Dhaka’s Bangabandhu Stadium before moving on to Chittagong’s MA Aziz. He was head groundsman at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong prior to it becoming an ODI and Test venue in 2006. In between, he was at Singapore where he established the Kallang as Singapore’s cricket centre and was then in Malaysia where he developed the Kinrara Oval into a ground worthy of ODIs for the DLF Cup between India, Australia and the West Indies, and a venue for the ICC U/19 World Cup Final in 2008.

The Kinrara Oval, Malaysia

“Jashim has been a hard worker all his life, and he gets things done. Curating wickets in our climate is a very challenging task but wherever he’s been, he has done extremely well. The way he succeeded in Guangzhou where, against the odds and facing so many challenges, he got the ground into shape in record time is testimony to his abilities,” says Asian Cricket Council Chief Executive Syed Ashraful Huq.

Guangzhou was just the latest triumph in a career that started in 1983 for Jashim, whose father and grandfather were also groundsmen, and whose brother is also establishing himself as a curator in the region. What distinguishes him is not just his technical knowledge but his perfectionist dedication to the tasks in hand, his almost tangible love for the blades of grass, the soil in which they grow and the roots they lay down.

“This is what Jashim had to face in Guangzhou: everything last-minute as the whole stadium at the Guangzhou Higher Education Mega Center had to be created from scratch within 15 months, not the most ideal clay, from Beijing province, to lay down, staff who were enthusiastic but totally new to the requirements of cricket, cool conditions, not enough water, a roller which arrived only two months before the Asian Games started and yet through all this he made a playing surface from which five out of seven wickets were used, 26 T20s played over 14 days, in an event which went a long way in putting cricket on the map in China as a credible place to play cricket,” says the ACC Chief Executive.

Guangzhou mastered, neighbouring Hong Kong is next

“I am here to serve, I hope to serve and bring honour to Hong Kong with my work,” says the modest curator who has left his family behind in Bangladesh as he starts his new assignment, initially on a two-year contract. “Hong Kong has a long history of cricket, and I have been told that it wants to keep going forward. I will do my best to achieve that.”

Jashim will initially be in charge of three HKCA grounds: Po Kong, Kai Tak and Stanley, with a fourth to come online later in the year.

Hong Kong Cricket Association

Filed May 6th, 2011