A two-day workshop for curators organised by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) ended yesterday at the conference center of the Guyana National Stadium.
The workshop which attracted 32 participants, 18 from Guyana and 14 from the other Caribbean territories, was facilitated by International Cricket Council (ICC) employee Andy Atkinson, who is an experienced international curator, West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Director Gregory Shillingford and WICB Director of Cricket Operations Tony Howard.
The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) Cricket Development Officer, Reon King was also present.
During the two-day programme, attendees participated in both classroom and on the field sessions. The object of the programme was to help local curators acquire proper techniques for the preparation of pitches in the region so they would be properly equipped for international matches.
Some of the topics of discussion included making a pitch preparation plan; protection of the international and regional pitches; the implementation of more grass on the pitch; being careful not to over-roll; and repairing of the pitches in season.
Speaking to the media afterwards Atkinson shared his thoughts on the progress made during the seminar.
“I’ve been championing for the implementation of such a programme since I was last here during the 2007 World Cup and I’m pleased it has finally come to pass,” Atkinson said.
“The last two-days have been very positive and it just wasn’t a case of me just lecturing to the participants, there was a healthy back and forth in which they brought up a lot of creditable suggestions,” Atkinson continued.
“We are all here to improve cricket wickets in Caribbean, that’s what the regional groundsmen want and most important that’s what the ICC wants, since they will help improve international cricket.
“Since if West Indies can regain pitches that have good bounce and is reputable in producing a good contest between bat and ball, we won’t have a situation of young batsmen from this region who would be accustomed to slow sluggish wickets going to Australia to play at Melbourne or Perth for example and being totally unaccustomed to bounce present in those wickets,” Atkinson said further.
Asked if he saw improvements or deterioration in pitch qualities in Guyana, specifically Providence Stadium and the region since he was last in the Caribbean, he said: “Pitch levels were high during my last visit during the 2007 World Cup – of all the criticism that 2007 World Cup got, no one criticized the pitches – everyone was pleased with all the surfaces. But then after that tournament we had a sluggish period up until the Twenty20 World Cup where things improved again, in which pitch standard went downhill and that was a major topic of discussion during our sessions here.
“So that tells me that the ability is certainly there in the region to produce quality wickets. It’s just that between World Cup when ICC tends to help during major tournaments hosted by any nation, that without those resources by us, the region struggles to keep up that standard. The WICB is very much aware of this and I know they are taking steps to eradicate this problem,” Atkinson declared.
Atkinson further noted that the situation in Guyana where the stadium is used as a multi-purpose stadium to host shows on such a consistent basis is not ideal.
He would be staying in Guyana until mid-October to assist with the pitch preparation for the Regional Super50 limited overs competition.