New Gabba curator aims for pitch perfect conditions for his first Test
When David Sandurski signed his contract as the Brisbane cricket ground's new curator, he took on much more than green keeping duties — he signed up to take on Taylor Swift.
The international pop princess will appear at the Gabba as part of her Reputation tour on November 6, which is cause for consternation for sporting fans after the ground took months to recover from two Adele concerts in March.
Mr Sandurski could have mere weeks to prepare the ground for a Gabba Test.
"When you have those big events there's always concerns and issues but this time we are a lot more comfortable," Mr Sandurski said.
"The stage itself isn't on the wicket block so that will make life a lot easier because the wicket block is the hardest thing to get back and get right for cricket."
But January 19 will herald his first appearance as Gabba curator on the international stage — for the one-dayer between Australia and England.
After playing his trade on the wickets of the MCG and Allan Border Field, Mr Sandurski is no newcomer to tending first-class pitches, but the Gabba's reputation as a fortress for Australian sides will ensure his wicket will be closely examined.
His predecessors, Kevin Mitchell Senior and his son Kevin Mitchell Junior, presided over the ground since 1975 and Mr Sandurski has enjoyed the mentorship of both men.
"I did a lot of time at AB Field at Albion — Kevin Mitchell Senior was the ground consultant over there and he spent a lot of time teaching me the art of making wickets," Mr Sandurski said.
"I also got to spend a lot of time with Kevin Junior — going up to Cairns and making wickets up there for A Series.
"One thing both Kevins have been very good with is being generous with their time and passing on their knowledge which makes things a lot easier for me."