x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

The men who tend to cricket's famous field

There is pressure on the people in charge of the wicket here to prepare a pitch fitting for a Test at the home of cricket.

LONDON // Cricket, probably more than any other sport, is obsessive about the surface on which it is played.

As such, there is pressure on the people in charge of the wicket here to prepare a pitch fitting for a Test at the home of cricket.

Lord's have a team of eight ground staff permanently tending to the field, working under the long-serving head groundsman, Mick Hunt, who was English cricket's groundsman of the year again last year.

His team have spent the past 13 days preparing the Test pitch, which is the most central of 17 strips on the square here.

He said yesterday that he expects the pitch to aid seam-bowlers, given the heavy rain which has fallen in London in recent days.

The ground staff will have to keep a keen eye on the weather forecast over the next five-days, too, with more rain expected, but they know the drill well.

Ryan Le Roux, a South African who moved to London 11 years ago and is now in charge of the Nursery field at Lord's, which is where the teams practice, expects to be in the ground by 5.30am today to begin a long day of work.

"It doesn't really matter if it is a Test match, a minor match or just a normal day, our duties are the same," Le Roux said. "The only difference is the early starts and the fact it is a Test match means there is a bit more pressure on it."

pradley@thenational.ae