Former England cricket star Mike Gatting urges groundsmen to embrace the media spotlight

ECB managing director of grass roots partnerships and former England cricket star Mike Gatting told groundsman at the IOG Conference they should not shy away from the media spotlight.

Mike Gatting was addressing the issue of the industry's poor perception by the outside world during the IOG Conference last week.

He suggested that groundsmen should be involved in TV coverage of pitch conditions, which is usually handled by pundits with no special knowledge.

Actively including the groundsmen in pitch discussions would help raise the public understanding of the skill level in the industry, helping to dispel the myth that groundstaff are just "grass cutters", he reasoned.

"I would like to encourage groundsman to give pitch reports to the media," he said.  "I am encouraged by what I have heard today and I think it is important that we educate the public about your role. We need your skills for the best possible facilities that allow us to enjoy our experience."

This view was also championed by TV pundit Mark Saggers who hosted the discussions. 

Saggers said as a journalist it was frustrating not to be able to gain access to the grounds staff when all he wanted to do was to praise the standard of the surfaces.

The discussions formed part of a debate on how best to challenge the perceptions of groundsmanship as a low-skilled industry. 

For pictures from the IOG Conference and Awards, visit the Horticulture Week picture gallery.


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