Queensland have lured the MCG curator David Sandurski back to where he began his career in Brisbane, to replace the longtime Gabba groundsman Kevin Mitchell Jnr.
Sandurski’s move north arrived two months after Mitchell revealed he would retire at the conclusion of this year’s first Ashes Test at the Gabba in late November, after no fewer than 27 years after tending the turf at a ground where Australia have built up a fortress-like record, not losing a Test match in Brisbane since 1988.
Among Sandurski’s challenges will be to maintain the fine balance between cricket and Australian rules football at the ground, which alongside the SCG remains one of only two major mainland cricket venues not to have a drop-in pitch. The MCG was first to move to drop-ins, followed by Adelaide Oval, with the new Perth stadium also to feature them.
“While I expect challenges like getting reacquainted with the warmer climate and humidity, as well as the multi-use nature of the venue, I’m confident my experience will hold me in good stead,” Sandurski said. “I look forward to getting in there and ensuring the Gabba ground remains something to be proud of.”
Max Walter, the Queensland Cricket chief executive, was happy to have been able to find a high quality, homegrown candidate to replace Mitchell. “David started as an apprentice on the grounds staff at Queensland Cricket and worked his way to the grounds manager role during the 12 years he was with us, demonstrating a keen willingness to learn and improve,” Walter said. “As grounds manager at Allan Border Field, he oversaw pitch preparations for 12 months of the year and worked with our Premier Cricket Clubs and venues and Cricket Australia as Brisbane took on an increasingly important role in the development of what is now the National Cricket Centre. In that time, he worked closely with Kevin Mitchell Jnr and the Gabba team and so it is pleasing to have that continuity with the venue.
“David has been widely recognised as a progressive and astute curator at the MCG and we are pleased he will now have the opportunity to contribute to the already world-class reputation of the Brisbane Cricket Ground and its renowned pitch. Queensland Cricket congratulates Kev again on his wonderful career and contribution to sport in Queensland. We look forward to a successful Test match at the Gabba next month to cap off that career and, at the same time, welcome David to the role.”