Local ground staffers should ensure they practice their craft at all times
April 9, 2010
Local ground staffers should ensure they practice their craft at all times

Operations Superintendent at the National Sports Council Lauron Baptiste wants to make St. Vincent and the Grenadines the model for pitch preparations and outfield upkeep in the region.{{more}}

Baptiste, a former St. Vincent and the Grenadines medium fast bowler and SVG and Windwards Under-19 Cricket captain, has been credited for the transformation of the showpiece ground after the council’s inheritance from the Local Organising Committee(LOC) following World Cup 2007.

He was praised by regional commentators, among them Tony Cozier, Joseph “Reds” Perriera, Michael Holding and Jeffrey Dujon, for providing pitches of consistent bounce, during the three One Day Internationals staged here on March 10, 12, and 14, between the West Indies and Zimbabwe.

The high commendations came on the heels of calls for bouncier wickets to suit the seamers produced by the regional sides.

Baptiste, in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT recently, contends that the provision of consistent bounce on the three days was no miracle, but just a “scientific approach towards the preparations.”

“The methodology has changed in that there is no roll in grass and the live grass itself comes through; the pitches had to be mowed three times per week to prevent the grass from forming a mat on the pitches,” Baptiste said.

Detailing other implements engaged, including a moisture meter, the Operations Superintendent revealed: “With the use of a moisture metre, we knew the amount of moisture in the wicket each day.”

“You have to have data to make informed decisions,” he added.

Baptiste pointed out that he is building on the tremendous years of experience of Head Goundsman Patrick “Tall Boy” John, as well as his background in Agronomy.

As it related to the outfield, Baptiste disclosed that they doubled the irrigation from 40,000 gallons per day to 80,000 per day, during the last two weeks leading up to the matches.

This he said was obtained from the nearby river and treated, granted the prolonged dry spell that the Caribbean was and is still experiencing.

Additionally, he said that a special foliar fertilizer from Germany is being applied, which adds direct nutrients to the grass, hence the greenery that exists at the Arnos Vale One venue.

Not resting on his laurels, Baptiste wants to carry out further tests, including the clay content on each strip, as that will aid in the scientific preparation process, rather than a hit and miss approach.

One who strives for perfection, Baptiste said the upkeep of fields is hard work and wants the local ground staffers to ensure they practice their craft at all times, whether it’s the local Cricket competitions or regional or internationals, as “That is the only way you are going to get better”.(RT)