Crafton explains run-frenzy Beausejour
GROS ISLET, ST LUCIA - You wouldn't recognise him if he held the door for you at the entrance of the Beausejour Cricket Ground. In fact, unless you know the man Kent Crafton, you may think he's just another spectator focussing on the game out on the field.
What you don't know is that it is his field. He's not busy chanting for the Windward Islands, though he is a local, but instead Kent Crafton spends his long hours at the ground watching cricketers play on the pitch, field in the outfield, and developing new and improved ways to better enhance Beausejour Cricket Ground as head groundsman.
He sits silently to the right of the Media Centre, alone and in thought, plotting his next great development for the ground. The ground is a picture that can be framed and hung on a wall. It looks like a painting in reality. The outfield has been up to international standard since its opening, no easy feat to conquer when a stadium is located in the driest part of a Caribbean island. The grass is always green. On the other hand, it is one of the fastest drying surfaces in the Caribbean as well, when rain falls.
But zero in on the pitch. Crafton received many praises for his work and preparation of the Beausejour Cricket Ground for the Caribbean Twenty20 tournament in January. With two days gone in the 1st Round match between the Windwards and CCC, already over 500 runs have been scored on the pitch. However, Crafton remains adamant that there is something in the wicket for the faster bowlers.
He said, "I think patience and some aggression is key but what you don't want to do is drop the ball too short." Not surprisingly then, every time medium pacer Raymon Reifer bowled short to Devon Smith on Day 2, he was pulled for 4. In fact, Kevin McClean's first delivery of the innings was short, and was pulled for four by Smith. Crafton recommends both teams bend their back and put some effort into their bowling, and that doesn't mean bowling short.
But he remains adamant that scoring runs is not as easy as Smith and Alleyne made it look. He said, "It's a pitch where you have to dig in and get runs. It will assist you but you have to be prepared to bat for your runs." And again Crafton was right, most of the CCC batsmen had fallen relatively soft, most of whom had gotten starts. Theophile played back a ball into the hands of Akeem Dewar, though the ball didn't do anything special.
In a game that consists of some of the Caribbean's finest young talent, Kent has crafted a pitch that he believes only requires the basic levels of cricket to be successful.