September 12, 2007

S Rajesh and Andrew McGlashan at the 2007 ICC World Twenty20

Dr McGlashan checks in

Andrew McGlashan
The ground staff at Newlands make last-minute preparations ahead of the Group B clash between Australia and Zimbabwe, Cape Town, September 12, 2007
 © Andrew McGlashan
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With the match between Australia and Zimbabwe not starting until 6 pm, it seemed a good chance to get to the ground early and take a look at conditions. There has been plenty of concern about whether Newlands will be up to staging its portion of the Twenty20 matches and it's probably fair to say the centre square has looked better.

The three pitches that have been cut each have a mottled appearance and the strips either side are bare, which will make for some painful diving from the close fielders. The outfield has had to soak up a huge amount of water in recent months, and one corner takes the brunt as a run-off area. Areas of turf have been relayed, but it isn't quite the gleaming carpet produced at the Wanderers.

But regardless of everything, the saving grace of Newlands every time is the location. With the mountain in the background it is a readymade postcard and a tournament in South Africa wouldn't have been complete without matches here.

The ground was being prepared right up to the last minute, even down to touches of paint in one of TV studios. But the award for short-straw job has to go to the people walking around the boundary putting on all the sponsors’ stickers. It took them about three hours.

The ground staff also made every effort to ensure adverse conditions don't affect the game. A tractor went around the outfield spraying an anti-dew substance which has been used with success before at Newlands and at venues on the subcontinent. As much as possible has been done to get Newlands ready, now it's down to the players.

***

Collecting accreditation was the first job of the day and went easily enough even though there were more passport checks than going through the average airport immigration hall. After an hour's wait, holding a numbered ticket as though at a supermarket meat counter, I went forward.

All was going well until the assistant said: "Are you a doctor?" The response of "No" brought the reply "Well you are now." And there it was, officially down as Dr Andrew McGlashan. But apparently it wasn't deemed worthwhile reprinting the accreditation. And it wasn't just one misprinted, either. A fellow journalist on a local Cape Town paper has also had his title upgraded from Mr to Dr. But if anyone needs medical attention in the press box they had better look elsewhere.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew McGlashan
Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.

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