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Head Groundsman ready for IT20

With just a few days to go until England host South Africa in a T20 International at the Cooper Associates County Ground, Head Groundsman Simon Lee is making his final preparations for the big day.

Looking ahead to the match Simon said: “I feel pretty excited about the prospect of England being here in Taunton on Friday. The weather has been gorgeous over the last few days, which is always helpful. As long as I can get the pitch out in advance, matchday weather is what it is and you just have to get on with it. However it’s nice to be able to prepare the wicket that you want to, and the weather lets you do that, after which the rest just happens really.”

How long has Simon had the pitch identified? “I guess that I’ve been working on the pitch itself all of the season but the main pitch preparation started about two weeks ago. Then straight after Tuesday’s quarter-final we were onto it to get the work in early and make it as hard as possible.”

What is he hoping for from the pitch? “Ideally I would like to have a wicket that was something like the one we used on Tuesday against Notts in the quarter- finals. That was a really good pitch and that is what the weather allows you to do, so hopefully it will be something like that.

“I can’t say what the scores will be like because you just don’t know what will happen on the day but it will be a good, flat deck and we want the team batting second to chase a big score and put on a good show.”

Simon went on: “I was here in 1999 as a 16 year old for the World Cup match between India and Sri Lanka which blew my mind a little bit, and of course Martin Frost (Groundsman) was also here, but the rest of the guys haven’t been around to help prepare and be involved in a full England international before.”

He added: “Everybody is buoyed about it and the excitement is slowly building. Now that we’re only a few days away you start to realize what it’s going to be.  The ground is going to look fantastic with all of the stands filled up, so it’s really exciting for everyone.”

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