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‘Never done before’ – Adelaide Oval’s key role in New York’s T20 World Cup pitches

Adelaide Oval head groundsman Damien Hough says the drop-in pitches that will be used at Eisenhower Park in New York for the Men’s T20 World Cup are a world first in terms of how they are prepared with some of the trays being built in Adelaide before being shipped to Florida and then transported to the new venue ahead of the tournament.

Hough and his team at Adelaide Oval Turf Solutions have been hired by the ICC to oversee the delivery and preparation of the drop-in pitches at the pop-up stadium in New York given their expertise in growing and preparing drop-in pitches over the last decade.

Hough explained that it has been a complicated process to prepare the pitches for the World Cup with a lot of logistical challenges involved.

“It’s a bit tricky, we basically built six of the 10 trays here in Adelaide,” Hough told Channel 7. “We made them modular. We’re really proud of them. We’ve got a couple out of the back that will probably come out here [on Adelaide Oval] next year.

“We put them in a shipping container and send them really wherever we want around the world. But they’ve gone over to Florida. And I’ve just come back from a month of work over there putting the trays together, putting the soil in, compacting them and putting the grass on. So we’re in the grow-in phase.

“We’ve got a business, a company over there called LandTek that are helping us with the grow-in phase. Then there’s a couple more strategic trips throughout the next six months to do some work on them and then transport them from Florida all the way up to New York where we’ll put them in and prepare them.

“It’s a lot of work that’s gone into it so far. But the real work starts around the start of May. It’ll take two days to transport them up which is quite incredible. Never done that before. So there’s a lot of firsts. And then there’s getting them in the ground.

“Four go into that venue, that pop-up stadium, 34,000-seat stadium. Eight games in 10 days. One of them is Pakistan and India which will be amazing. And then there’s six that go into the warm-up venue with so many teams rotating through and so much training.”

Hough, who has also been dividing his time while also working on the Adelaide Oval pitch for the Test match between Australia and West Indies and Adelaide’s BBL pitches, said there is only likely to be one warm-up game at Eisenhower Park before the World Cup starts.

“The first game is early June,” Hough said. “There’s probably going to be a warm-up game just to test the venue out in late May. But yeah, I pinch myself sometimes. For us, Adelaide Oval Turf Solutions, to have a little bit of involvement and assist with something that is quite historic in a World Cup in America for the first time.”

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