Muscat: It's thumbs-up for the Oman Cricket-developed Ministry of Sports Affairs (MOSA) ground at Al Amerat, which has been spruced up for the newly launched Premier League.
The positive nod came from Tony Hemming, the head curator of the International Cricket Council Global Cricket Academy, who also developed the Dubai International Stadium ground, which now hosts international cricket of all formats.
Hemming is satisfied with the ground conditions in Al Amerat, which now boasts of ten pitches on the Ministry of Sports Affairs (MOSA) Ground 1.
"Things look perfect to me as of now. Future depends on the consistency of maintenance," he said in a brief chat with Times Sport.
Asked whether he was involved with the ground development in Oman, Hemming replied in affirmative.
"I have been in touch with the Khimji Ramdas construction company, Proscape and the local curator, and they have done a wonderful job," he said.
"Initially I provided them with a Power Point presentation to educate them on pitch and ground development, and to show them how it is being developed world wide," he added.
"These pitches need to be tested consistently to keep it running in harsh climatic conditions as well and to add measured watering is also important," he claimed.
Hemming advised the Oman Cricket to obtain Clegg Hammer, an instrument which measures the quality of pitches and the use of rollers.
Hemming also expressed satisfaction on the pitches. "I tested them by dropping an old ball from a height and found the bounce true. I think the matches to be played in the coming weeks will give a true picture," he said.
Hemming also was against overusing the wickets and advised Oman Cricket to plan their games judiciously.
"I have told them to schedule games on one particular wicket a week, so that the ten pitches can be used on a spread of ten weeks," he said.
He also said that the second ground will be fully ready by September and with that Oman Cricket will have 20 pitches to play on.
"We also need to work out a plan on practice pitches," he pointed out.
According to Hemming, the soil from Pakistan, which is used here, normally has 30 percent silt, and if that is filtered off the pitches will be of good standard.
On the water available at the ground, Hemming said that it is not good.
"We need to install a Reverse Osmosis (RO) plant and the purified water needs to be used."
He also did not hesitate to compare the ground with the Newlands in Cape Town.
"In one angle it has a similar look with the mountains as backdrop, but to make it more attractive, we need to cut the soar view of villas and houses, which will make it more cool and serene," said Hemming.
"This venue can be developed into one of world's best," he added.
"I once again stress the need for consistent approach to maintain the pitches," said Hemming, who has turned dry desert patches into green pastures for cricket in Dubai.
For standard pitch
The ICC Academy head curator was also against developing pitches which favour the host team.
"I am not for this, though I favour result-oriented pitches," said Hemming responding to a query on the pitches developed for the India-South Africa series recently.
"Who is not doing it? All over the world host nations develop pitches in their favour but ideally as a grounds man we should be allowed to decide," he said.
"What we should look for is an even contest between bat and ball. The ideal pitch will assist bowlers in the first session before it eases out helping the batsman on the second and third days. As the match wears on, there should be a degree of variable bounce and the pitch should take spin. This is the standard pitch as per ICC guidelines," he explained.
Meanwhile, on Oman's preparations for the World T20, Hemming first said he was not a coach to comment on what type of preparations is needed, but had his own view.
When pointed out that Oman will be playing their World T20 in Dharamsala, a high-altitude venue, Hemming said: "Ideally the Oman team must be having conditioning camps either at the venue or similar places."
National coach Duleep Mendis chipped into say that Oman Cricket is trying to have their next camp in Dharamsala.
"We are hoping to be based there (Dharamsala) and will also move on to Bangladesh to play Asia Cup T20 from there," the Sri Lankan said.