Phase one of the restoration of the pitch and field at Kensington Oval has started.
Earlier this month, Steven Leslie, director of cricket with the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA), announced that the playing of cricket matches would be temporarily halted at Kensington Oval to facilitate work on the pitches and outfield.
During the two 2017 Professional Cricket League matches held at the Oval there were a number of grassless areas on the outfield at the Oval.
In a previous interview with Barbados TODAY, Leslie said the BCA was taking advantage of the break in first-class cricket at the Oval between November and early January to restore the ground and pitches.
“We at the BCA are happy with phase one of the work at the Kensington Oval venue. So far there have been verti-cutting and aerating done to the outfield and the grounds have been sprayed which would boost the field. As to the relaying of the pitches, we have had some soil tested by Dr Francis Lopez who is a Research Fellow in Sports Agronomy at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, which would be placed on the square to ensure we get an improved surface as we go forward in hosting matches for the 2018 Cricket West Indies four-day first-class season. So at the moment the work is progressing very well,” Leslie told Barbados TODAY.
He explained that the bad patches seen on the square relevant to the playing area were where the soil would be placed.
“So there are two elements, the outfield where the grass and the verti-cutting will be done and the actual soil going on to the playing area. We wanted to ensure the soil had the ideal clay content that would allow the pitches to be hard and bouncy, to make sure we got everything right. Dr Lopez was asked to test it,” Leslie said.
The director of cricket stated the soil tested by Dr Lopez would be used on the top dressing of the pitch and the playing surface.
“There are six pitches at Kensington, so we are identifying the pitches the soil will be placed on to help boost their pace and bounce,” Leslie said.
Recently, the BCA has been advertising for an assistant coach and curator. Leslie said the posts the BCA was seeking to fill were in two areas that could help boost the current staff complement which would fall in line with their cricket development plan which was still in its drafting stage.
“Part of that plan will be to consider ensuring we have the staff complement to meet the needs of the programme we want to execute over the next five years. At the moment we believe that our focus should be on our bowling, and the advertisement for the bowling coach would have indicated we required a person with a particular speciality”, Leslie said.
“Taking twenty wickets in a match is critical, we in the West Indies throughout the years have been known to produce fast bowlers. Therefore, we are looking for a person with the expertise who can get our fast bowlers back to the stage where they can be successful in taking twenty wickets,” the cricket administrator explained.
He acknowledged that spinners had been the dominant bowlers in club cricket for the past decade.
“There are a few fast bowlers who have taken 40 wickets or more in the last ten years but typically, spinners would have dominated. The BCA is very keen on making sure we unearthed that fast bowling talent. There are some talent-identifying programmes being put forward in our draft development plan. Once the BCA’s board sign off on the development plan, we will be sharing these initiatives with the public,” Leslie said.