Lord’s well-equipped to minimise rain delays

Lord’s will host five World Cup matches, including the final on July 14. Karl McDermott, head groundsman of the Lord's Cricket Ground, is confident the venue is well equipped to handle possible rain interruptions.

Karl McDermott, head groundsman of the Lord's Cricket Ground, is optimistic of his team handling the weather interruptions, if any, ably.   -  Getty Images

Persistent rain and a damp outfield have already forced three washouts in this edition of the World Cup, while only seven overs were bowled in the West Indies-South Africa game.

The tournament does not feature reserve days for the group stage and most venues have found it hard to grapple with, what has already proved to be the most rain-affected World Cup ever.

However, Karl McDermott, head groundsman of the Lord's Cricket Ground, is confident the venue is well equipped should the weather gods decide to cause downpour.

"Rain is always a challenge anywhere, particularly in England. The more rain that falls, essentially the less time you have to prepare the pitch. However, we’re blessed at Lord’s with fantastic equipment that can minimise any risk of not having enough time to prepare pitches," McDermott told Sportstar.

Matches at Lord’s

23rd June (Sunday) - Pakistan v. South Africa

25th June (Tuesday) - England v. Australia

29th June ( Saturday) - Australia v. New Zealand (D/N)

5th July( Friday) - Bangladesh v. Pakistan

14th July (Sunday) — Final

"The drainage at Lord’s is also superb. At some grounds, a torrential downpour during the match can mean the loss of many hours of play, but we’re fortunate that we can often ensure that play can continue promptly. Lord’s is famous for its slope, and that takes a bit of managing, but we are in a fortunate position and our staff, as do all the others around the country, do a fantastic job," he added.

Related: Rain pain in World Cup 2019

McDermott is 'not unduly' worried about excess rains — this is being tipped as the wettest June in UK’s history — affecting preparation in the lead up to the Pakistan-South Africa clash on June 23.

"Rain is part and parcel of pitch preparation and in fact, it actually allows the grass to maintain its colour and keep Lord’s looking like it should. We use a water blotter to help dry the outfield quickly," said McDermott, previously the head groundsman at the Ageas Bowl, the home of Hampshire. McDermott replaced Mick Hunt who had worked for the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) for 49 years.

‘Roofs, not a feasible option’

“ Rain is part and parcel of pitch preparation and in fact, it actually allows the grass to maintain its colour and keep Lord’s looking like it should. We use a water blotter to help dry the outfield quickly,” — Karl McDermott, head groundsman of the Lord's Cricket Ground.

McDermott feels putting roofs on existing grounds in England wouldn't be a feasible option. "It would almost be logistically impossible and would completely change the dynamic of grounds, particularly at somewhere like Lord’s!" he said. "Whilst we don’t have any roofs on grounds in this country, I know that at various grounds around the world these have worked well, as well as covering the whole ground. Maybe in the future, if there is a new purpose-built cricket ground it could include a roof, but that’s a long, long way down the line."

The Lord's cricket ground will host five World Cup matches including the final, England's first Test match versus Ireland (24-27 July — its first Test of fewer than five days since the tour of New Zealand in 1971) as well as an Ashes Series and McDermott would like to see "bit of pace and bounce" from the wicket.

"As it’s only my first season in the role, it will take a while for me to assess the pitches and see what needs to be done next and if we can tweak and preparations in the future, but I’m really looking forward to the challenge," he said.