Groundsman (or curator)
Groundsman (or curator) is a special position in cricket, which involves taking care of the ground, primarily the pitch. As a rule, groundsmen do not perform all the work related to this independently but manage a staff of specialists, each responsible for a separate site (cutting grass, fertilizing, drainage, and so on). In addition, the groundsman (or curator) is obliged to monitor the condition of the field before the start of the match, how much grass is left on it, whether additional treatment with a roller is needed, and if so, what kind. Finally, the specialist must monitor the weather and have a deep knowledge of topography.
Despite the fact that the groundsman (or curator) is an auxiliary position, its requirements are very high, and this applies not only to a highly professional level, but also to an amateur one. So, in particular, the groundsman (or curator) must:
- Make a plan for working with the pitch following the ICC rules. His tasks include constant maintenance of the ground both during games and on weekends to maintain its optimal conditions;
- Regularly treat the pitch and make sure that the moisture level remains sufficient. In addition, the groundsman (or curator) must understand various types of modern rollers, starting with hand one and ending with gasoline, and be able to manage them and ensure that the equipment remains in working condition. In addition, knowledge of the basics of operating mowers, sprinklers and shredders is welcome.
- Ensure timely maintenance of the tools by the involved specialists and their repair (if necessary). To assist in the installation of so-called protective networks and other temporary fences.
- Thoroughly know the rules of labor protection of employees, as well as safety techniques. Instruct junior colleagues and volunteers involved, including on the use of protective equipment, storage and utilization of pesticides.
- Monitor the work of contractors, ensuring compliance with all previously agreed terms and conditions, as well as compliance with safety standards.
- Carefully monitor the condition of the pitch and ensure its timely recovery after cricket matches, especially protracted ones. Guarantee the ground treatment, its uniform rolling, irrigation and cleaning (including from the remains of roots, mushrooms, large stones, worms and any debris).
- Regularly take samples to determine the condition of the pitch, including identifying possible grass diseases. Remove weeds, trim the grass cover, restore and update the markup.
- Monitor the condition of the viewing screens, their storage, movement and correct installation.
A groundsman (or curator) is, as a rule, a person with extensive experience and knowledge not only in the field of the game itself, but also in the field of legislation (in particular, he is required to understand the general principles of handling chemicals). In addition, he must have a driver’s license and certificates, including a document confirming the fact of passing first aid courses.
And yet, despite the great importance of the groundsman’s (or curator’s) work, his work often does not receive proper recognition. So, Durham’s groundsman (County Championship), Vic Demain and his colleagues claim that they constantly have to face problems that the management is in no hurry to solve. One of the most serious is, of course, the lack of funding. Groundsmen are forced to solve many tasks that are not part of their direct duties and often learn on the go.
Cricket clubs, as a rule, can not boast of a budget comparable to football, so it is usually groundsmen who have to cope with soil pollution and equipment breakdowns. But the most annoying factor is not even this, but the damage that players – often unwittingly – cause to the pitch. Many cricketers leave notes on the field, either marking the desired point with a bat or simply scratching it on the surface of the court, adding the work of the groundsman (or curator). And this is not to mention that players may simply not show proper respect for the person responsible for the state of the pitch, which many of them find disappointing.
It is interesting: as a rule, groundsmen are responsible not only for the state of the finished pitch as such, but also for the preliminary sowing of herbaceous crops, and depending on the specific area of the site, mixtures of different varieties can be selected.
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