IN a time where the ‘off-season’ no longer exists for major sporting grounds, yet sporting clubs’ expected standards have never been higher, the job of being a curator at a major sporting ground seems from the outside to be one filled with high-stress.
Take the MCG for example; a ground that now accommodates not only cricket as it would’ve done once upon a time, but now a heavy football schedule, rugby matches, the occasional exhibition soccer match, concerts and other major functions on its turf.
Such high demand for the venue does not lend itself well to preparing immaculate cricket pitches that Sheffield Shield and international fixtures expect when playing at ‘the G’.
This problem has been responsible for the development of the ‘drop-in pitch’, which allows the wicket to be prepared off-site, and literally driven onto the ground and placed in the middle.
Curators now grow the pitch elsewhere, remove a 25m long, 3m wide, 200mm deep chunk of turf from the middle of the ground, and place the pitch into it. This new wicket will be ready for play just a couple of days after it is dropped in.
The MCG was the first ground to use drop-in wickets, and thanks to the versatility and reliability they bring to sporting grounds, as well as the fact they allow for more mature grass and root systems to develop, they have become ubiquitous across the world.