January 13, 2003

Turf manager predicting runs aplenty in Hamilton

Hamilton turf manager Doug Strachan has never been short of a good comment or two about his cricket block and he reckons if both New Zealand and India want some practice for the World Cup tomorrow they will get it in the final match of the National Bank Series.

He's confidently expecting 550 runs to be scored on the Westpac Park track.

"It is that good a track," he said.

"I'm very proud of this pitch," he added.

While it has been relaid for this summer, he said he was doubly careful in its preparation after the disappointments of the Test earlier in the summer when he was caught out by a late turn in the weather.

Not normally someone who worries too much about media comment on his pitches, he admitted that after the second Test he had gone out and sought newspaper comment and when the pitch prompted a comment by Indian captain Sourav Ganguly that it was "the worst pitch in the world" he went out and got a copy of the Waikato Times [local newspaper] billboard that featured the question.

It now hangs on the inside of his office door to remind him of the pitfalls that await the unsuspecting.

And tomorrow's pitch won't be the worst in the world.