Jarrett Park Pitch: JCBC needs to act

Tony Becca

January 21, 1998

The England cricketers smashed Jamaica by an innings and 65 runs at Jarrett Park in the opening match of the tour and for all those interested in the fortunes of the national team it was a disappointment.

For those charged with the development of the game and the development of the players, it was more than a disappointment: it was embarrassing.

The disappointment, despite the state of the pitch and the quality of the England bowling, was the performance of Jamaica's batsmen - especially as it is now becoming a habit. The batsmen were bundled out for 125 and 96 with all 20 wickets falling for 221 runs - including 62 extras - in just over the equivalent of a day's play, in only 90 overs, but for Brian Murphy, it could have been worse.

Batting at number nine, Murphy stayed at the crease for 77 minutes and 17 overs while scoring 26 not out in the first innings, and for 52 minutes and 10 overs while scoring 22 before he was last man out in the second.

The pitch was bad - no doubt about that and it must have had a psychological effect on the batsmen of both teams. With a little application however, those batsmen of Jamaica who were not skittled by shooters could have done better.

As it is with the batting of the Jamaicans, the cricket administrators should also be embarrassed about that - and also the condition of the outfield.

The rumblings around Jarrett Park during the less than three days of play placed the blame everywhere - on the Jamaica Cricket Board of Control, its affiliate the St. James Cricket Association whose representatives pulled out during the preparation, on the Jarrett Park Management Committee which is in charge of the ground and even on the MoBay Cricket Club which had representatives on the planning committee.

There is a saying in Jamaica that too many cooks spoil the broth and maybe that is what happened in Montego Bay.

In a move probably aimed at satisfying the different factions in the tourist city, the board, for a quiet life, attempted to involve as many as possible and that was one reason for the problem.

Another reason was that the board took over the preparation of the ground - including the pitch, sent its own ``experts'' to Montego Bay, and along with the in-fighting which has been going on in St. James' cricket, the feeling of the St. James Cricket Association that it was not as prominent as it should have been, and the late arrival of who Montegonians refer to as ``the people from Kingston'' that was what caused the controversy and led to a pitch which was described as a terror.

With so many cooks, it was easy to pass the buck - so much so that during the match the people of Montego Bay blamed the Kingston ``experts'' and the people from Kingston blamed those from Montego Bay.

Regardless of whose fault it was, the pitch and the outfield were embarrassments and while they probably should not be blamed for the outfield on which so much money was spent, based on the pitch which they prepared for the Jamaica/Barbados President's Cup match at Sabina Park, the people of Kingston must take the major share of the blame for the condition of the pitch.

For the sake of Jamaica's cricket, especially its batting and its reputation, the board, led by president Jackie Hendriks, needs to get together with the selectors and with the fraternity in St. James - and quickly at that.

Source: The Jamaica Gleaner

Contributed by CricInfo Management, and reproduced with permission
Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 19:09