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Plenty of happy faces as North Field hosts first cricket match since 2019

Allan Douglas Sr, left, with national team coach Niraj Odedra and Steven Douglas at North Field on Sunday (Picture by Mehluli Sibanda)

There was joy among those at the helm of Bermuda Cricket after the National Sports Centre’s North Field hosted its first match since 2019 on Sunday.

It’s been four years since the International Cricket Council removed matches from that venue when Bermuda hosted the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Americas Region Finals after complaints from visiting teams that the pitch was turning too much, with the remaining fixtures switched to White Hill Field.

With Bermuda again set to welcome teams from North and South America for the final stage of qualifiers for the ICC T20 World Cup in September, North Field is again being prepared, and National coach Niraj Odedra and captain Delray Rawlins were among those on hand last weekend to see the pitch put through its paces when St George’s beat Western Stars in a BCB 50 Overs Premier Division fixture.

Allan Douglas Sr, the Bermuda Cricket Board’s chairman of high performance and head curator, has been spending more time than anyone at North Field and his task is ensuring that the problems of four years ago are avoided this time around.

“The wicket was turning a lot, with plenty of uneven bounce,” Douglas said.

“There are certain things you need for one day cricket, Twenty20 and 50 overs cricket. You need a smooth surface as it’s a batsmen’s game and you need the ball coming to the bat. That's the basics and once you get those basics, you are okay. The ICC felt that White Hill had a better product.”

Pitch issues are not a problem unique to Bermuda as the ICC has also forced world cricket powerhouses such as Australia, India, England and Pakistan to rectify problems with surfaces.

“If it’s turning too much, it's not a batsmen’s game,” Douglas said.

It’s got to be 70 percent in the batsmen’s favour and 30 percent bowler. If It’s anything else, then they question. What people need to understand is that they have done this to fields around the world. It's not a problem, just go and fix it.“

The BCB has a Memorandum of Understanding with the administration running the National Sports Centre and ever since that agreement has been signed, work has been under way to ensure that the wicket meets the required standards of the ICC.

Douglas has been at the venue almost on a daily basis attending to the pitch and overseeing staff at the centre and was delighted to see some exciting action take place on it, but he expects the pitch to improve in the coming weeks.

“I've been here every day,” Douglas said. “It’s morning and afternoon if you are preparing, cutting and dressing the wicket. There is a lot of treatment, you have to get rid of the weeds, you have to level it off, there is so much that has to be done.

“It feels good to have a game but it’s nowhere near what I want yet, this is nowhere near the end product.

“Come June, July, you will see some really good surfaces here. It’s always been a decent facility, it used to be really good so it’s just a matter of time.

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Published May 31, 2023 at 10:23 am (Updated May 31, 2023 at 10:23 am)

Plenty of happy faces as North Field hosts first cricket match since 2019

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