0 100 days to go until the Ashes

stevebirttrentb.jpgIt is not just players and fans who are anticipating the arrival of the Ashes in Nottingham this summer.

Notts groundsman Steve Birks has the responsibility of preparing a pitch suitable for the grand occasion.

Trent Bridge is the chosen location for the first Test of England's five-match series against old rivals Australia.

Birks, who was named ECB Groundsman of the Year for 2012, admits the inclement weather has put him and his staff "a month behind schedule" ahead of the new county season.

But no conditions, rain or snow, will prevent him from beginning work on the strip for the July 10 showpiece.

"The Ashes pitch looks lovely," he said. "We've picked it out. It's right in the centre of the square.

"The grass coverage is very good on it so we will just keep our eye on it and have a look at what it looks like about a week before."

Birk is set for a hectic few weeks as he prepares for the beginning of a busy summer of cricket, both international and domestic.

On Test match week, in particular, Birk is expecting a stressful time as the eyes of the world gaze on his handy work.

"You don't sleep for a week. You just need a bit of luck. You aren't playing on a carpet so you just keep your fingers crossed that you have a good pitch."

But he insists his extra hours of labour will be worth it, when the first ball of the 2013 Ashes is delivered, adding: "The first day of a Test is something special. It's lovely to see Trent Bridge packed. The atmosphere, everything is fantastic."

Read more: http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/100-days-Ashes-Trent-Bridge-groundsman-expecting/story-18586411-detail/story.html#ixzz2POxEw4Mz

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