AUSTRALIAN curator David Agnew said it will be challenging having 23 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) matches at the Brian Lara Stadium, but said a collaborative effort with the local groundsmen will help the quality of wickets throughout the entire tournament.
The CPL bowls off on Tuesday with a double header at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba. Trinbago Knight Riders will play Guyana Amazon Warriors at 10 am, followed by a clash between last year's champions Barbados Tridents and St Kitts and Nevis Patriots at 5.30 pm.
The tournament, which ends on September 10, will be played in TT with 23 matches in Tarouba and ten matches at the Queen's Park Oval in St Clair.
Discussing the task of having 23 matches at the Tarouba venue, Agnew told Newsday, "It's a huge challenge, exciting though. It is a good way to actually show groundsmen what pitches are actually capable of."
Agnew, who has worked for the CPL in the past, said it must be an all-hands-on-deck approach for the tournament and working alongside the local groundsmen is "hugely important."
Agnew will join forces with sports advisor to Udecott, Manohar Ramsaran, and the team of groundsmen at Brian Lara Cricket Academy.
He added, "It is exciting, the guys there I have forged a really good relationship..
"Everyone knows what they are doing, everyone is confident and energy is there because we all want to have the games on and so obviously the faster that we can cover (the field if rain falls) and then get the games back on and everyone is on the same page. It's a big team, it's a wonderful team there and it is going to be good."
The Australian groundsman will draw from his experience as a groundsman in the 2019 Global T20 Canada when more than 20 matches were played at the CAA Centre Cricket Grounds in Brampton, Ontario.
Agnew is from Adelaide, Australia but has been living in New Zealand for the past four years.
The 35-year-old has been a groundsman for 15 years. He has qualifications in level four turf management and has worked at several venues including Adelaide Cricket Ground. Cricket grounds are his expert area, but he has dabbled in rugby and football also.
Agnew said the preparation at Brian Lara is key with so many matches at one ground. "(It's) a case of preparing the pitches just a bit differently to what you would normally do for a one-off game or two games potentially at a ground. There is bit more involved in managing the grass on the pitch, having more grass on the wickets because it is about longevity (and) making them last...it can be done, there is no reason why it can't de done. It is all about keeping the life in the wicket and that is the hardest part of the management and the weather is obviously a big factor here as well with rainfall that can happen here in the afternoons."
Agnew said the groundsmen would need some luck as well with the weather. Plans are in place to use three wickets at Brian Lara to ensure the cricket is of a high standard.
In getting through the matches, Agnew said, "We will be working long hours, long weeks to obviously achieve that and make that happen because we all want to see cricket games on, and more the better for everyone."