'For me this is the world. I have not seen the outside world too much. For me it is all about maintaining the graph of this venue high and for that I am stay at the Lord’s ground itself,' says Lord's head groundsman Mike Hunt
London: In England you will find a replacement for opener Alastair Cook and fast bowler James Anderson but it is quite difficult to get a replacement for Mike Hunt (pictured above, left).
You must be thinking who is this guy? Why we are saying this? Is he a current Test cricketer?
He is not a cricketer but he is a special man. No doubt his contribution is more than a Test player.
We are talking about a person who has given 49 years of his life to serve as the head groundsman of the Mecca of Cricket - Lord’s.
He has been considered as the world’s best groundsman in cricketing history. And now Hunt would be retiring at the end of this year. And cricketers in England are feeling sad about this.
What is special about Lord’s, we asked Hunt.
He said, “Every day lots of people are coming to see this historical ground of Lord’s. I can see every day, nothing is new for me. People think of this ground and the wicket at Lord’s is not a pitch like any other. However, we have not found any difference. But honestly speaking, having worked here for almost five decades, only I know about this ground. Whoever comes after me will not be able to change Lord’s wicket. It’s very difficult to change it,” Hunt said.
He has never seen the outside world since his journey as a groundsman.
“For me this is the world. I have not seen the outside world too much. For me it is all about maintaining the graph of this venue high and for that I am stay at the Lord’s ground itself. The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) need to maintain this ground’s history. It is funny that people neither expect five wickets in every match nor a century in each game. But they expect me to give a 100% sporting surface for each and every match. For that I stay here and I have been delivering my best so far,” Hunt said, pointing his finger towards his house located near the ground.
When asked if his job was stressful, Hunt said it was not.
“Not as such because I love my job. But, yes, after the 2012 London Olympics, I was feeling very stressed out. The International Olympic Committee hosted archery at Lord’s ground. And because of that, one-third of our ground’s greenery was gone. I had to maintain the ground in old shape because immediately after that we were hosting South Africa’s Test match at Lord’s. But somehow we managed,” Hunt recalled.
Hunt had several good memories about the Indian team. “I like the Indian team. The way the crowd comes to support India, none of the other visiting teams get this kind of backing. I have seen Kapil Dev and his team lift the Prudential World Cup in 1983. I have seen young Mohammad Kaif and Yuvraj Singh guiding India to a memorable victory in the NatWest Trophy Final in 2002. I have seen Dilip Vengsarkar’s three century knocks as well as your technically sound player Ajinkya Rahane’s century in 2014.”
India suffered a heavy defeat in the second Test at Lord’s and Hunt felt for Virat Kohli and his boys.
He said, “The Indian team was capable of winning this game but they miscalculated. When the match started on Friday the weather was perfectly suitable for the bowlers. Any team in the world who come with a heavy batting line-up would’ve suffered the same result as India. But it is part and parcel of the game. India are behind in this series 0-2 but they will bounce back.”
After the Lord’s game, Hunt looks relaxed. He feels that his work is over. He feels he has created a good team, which will carry his legacy forward.
“Excuse me gentlemen, I promised a dinner date to my wife and I would take your leave,” Hunt signed off.
Last Updated 8:57 AM IST