Hunt for the perfect pitch has groundsman sweating

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The Independent Online

Producing a pitch that gives all these cricketers a chance to shine is the task of Mick Hunt, the Lord's groundsman. Hunt is not one of life's optimists and the week before a Test is the most stressful in his calendar. To the uninitiated, getting it right would seem a simple task. But it is not. Hunt's preparations are, to some extent, in the hands of the gods.

The recent hot, dry spell has not helped. If he does not water it enough, cracks will appear and the pitch will be ready for the game two or three days before it starts. But if he waters it too much and the weather turns overcast and wet in the build-up to the game, it will start damp.

This would help the fast bowlers and place a huge emphasis on the toss. It would also increase the chances of an early finish, costing the sport between £2m and 3m per day.

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