Cape Town - A world-class grounds curator who transformed
the Newlands nets, outfield and pitches to be the best in the country, is
how the players and management of the Cape Cobras paid
tribute to the decorated Evan Flint, who announced after Christmas that he is
leaving Newlands to become the grounds curator of the Wanderers from February 1, 2019.
READ: Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur blasts Newlands pitch
“I have been at Newlands involved first as a player
since 1991 and I have seen the facility deteriorate at a stage, especially as
the outfield was a bit down. But when Evan came here in 2008, he transformed it
into a world-class arena again. He made a massive contribution to Newlands’
(resurrection),” said Faiek Davids, assistant coach of the Cape Cobras.
“We all love Evan here. He did a great job. I trust he will
keep doing the same things that made him the most sought-after groundsman in
the country, when he moves to the Wanderers. There is one reason and one reason
only why the Wanderers wanted him, because he is the best in the country,” said
Ashwell Prince, coach of the Cape Cobras.
“He has been outstanding. You don’t receive the accolade as
the Pitchvision groundsman of the year unless you are the best in the country,
The local players know they probably train in the best nets in the country. We
have got the best training facilities in South Africa and we owe it to Evan and
his team,” added Prince.
“I give Evan 10 out of 10. That is why the test matches
the past few years have been so outstanding,” said Dane Piedt, captain of the Cape Cobras.
Flint said, “I applied for the position and decided to leave
because it was time to move on and embrace a new challenge. Also, my greater
family lies in the north of the country so it makes sense practically at this
stage of my career.”
Flint was the Pitchvision South African groundsman of the
year in 2016/17 and 2017/18.
The Wanders will gain the services of a vastly experienced
curator who worked 10 years intermittently at Kingsmead under the guardianship
of Phil Russell and 10 and a half years at Newlands.
When he started in 2008, Newlands was not in the best
shape and it took him three to four years to get the formula right and learn
the Cape weather. He stumbled upon the right formula for a good pitch, he said.
He relayed the outfield, put in a new drainage system and an
irrigation system, relayed six pitches on the square and added two more
pitches. Over the period of 10 and a half years, he also added pace and bounce
to the famous wicket.
“It has been incredible. I have spent 10 amazing years at
one of the best if not the most picturesque grounds in the world,” said Flint
about the enjoyment factor of the past decade.
My relationships with my two bosses at WPCA, Prof André
Odendaal and Nabeal Dien, were good,” he said.
“My relationship with Nabeal Dien was great. He allowed me
to get on with the job and do what we need to do and in that way we achieved a
“Evan had a major impact on Newlands. Its pristine
condition owe much to his and his staff’s unwavering commitment and quest for
perfection of our iconic ground. He will be sorely missed. My relationship with
Evan was easy and I completely respected his skill and it will be an enormous
challenge to continue to keep this iconic ground in pristine condition. Evan
has been an integral part of our management team at the Western Province Cricket
Association and I can only wish him well,” said Nabeal Dien, chief executive
officer of the Western Province Cricket Association.