JLT One-Day Cup 2018

'Unbelievable' addition has Tigers roaring

Game-changing tent has seen Tasmania on turf since the start of winter

Sam Ferris

10 September 2018, 03:18 PM

Ask any Tasmanian player or coach to describe the impact of the new training marquee in Hobart, the one word that keeps coming back is "unbelievable".

As 2018 was thrust into the chills of winter, a 45m x 25m marquee was being installed at Blundstone Arena to provide the Tigers unprecedented pre-season training on turf wickets.

Inside the tent // Supplied
Inside the tent // Supplied

The concept was borrowed from the UK and New Zealand, locations that share the same frosty conditions and complications Tasmania encounters, and has the Tigers ready to pounce this summer.

"It's been one of the best things we've ever done down here from a playing perspective," Tigers head coach Adam Griffith told cricket.com.au.

"The ability for us to have our quicks running in off their long runs in late May, early June is unheard of here.

"The way the marquee's been built, it covers the full run-ups, right back to the top of their marks and it's a clear roof.

"With the sun coming in the wickets have been very high quality – the groundstaff have done an amazing job.

"We've actually trained on good quality wickets – not only on turf, but they've been excellent quality as well.

"We've been able to do some things around training and having competitive sessions that we haven't been able to do in the past."

Griffith, who is set to start his second season at the helm in Hobart, approached Cricket Tasmania general manager of high performance Drew Ginn about revisiting the marquee idea that had been laughed down half a decade ago.

The marquee, which features nine pitches and can be configured to allow competitive match simulation, has came at a cost – in order to erect the structure the Tigers forwent a pre-season tour to Maroochydore on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

It's left the Tigers short of match practice, but today the team flew to Brisbane to play one warm-up match before heading further north to Townsville for the start of the JLT One-Day Cup.

While the marquee fee has been a pre-season trip to warmer climes, Tigers gloveman Matthew Wade has been keen to let his former Victorian teammates know the money was worth it to get on turf wickets so soon in the year.

"It's unbelievable," Wade told cricket.com.au last week. "It certainly changes pre-season.

"I've been giving the Vic boys heaps of s**t because they spent $40 million on their centre (the state-of-the-art facility at Junction Oval) and they're not even close to (training on) turf.

"They can't believe we got on turf so early.

"To get on turf makes a massive difference to not rocking up hitting inside, when it's raining, cold and it just feels like pre-season drags on. This one's been great."

Despite not traveling north to the Sunshine State, new Tigers recruit Gurinder Sandhu says the marquee has made it feel like Queensland has come to them.

"It's been unbelievable," Sandhu told cricket.com.au.

"We've been on turf for two months, maybe a bit more, so it's been reminding me of the couple of times that I was at the NCC academy in Brisbane where turf nets are up all year round.

"I've had a bit of that feeling down here.

"Getting to train outdoors whilst being indoors in a tent has been unbelievable, to be able to bowl off a full run-up for two-and-a-half months already when some teams are restricted to indoors.

"It's how you get better – by bowling to batters and trying out different things and seeing what works and what doesn’t.

"It's been unbelievable."

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