The ball flies across the carpet-like outfield. The commentator expresses his appreciation for the immaculate playing field: “If I was a fielder, I’d dive just for the sake of it!” he shouts, crackling into the microphone.
It truly is a thing of beauty. Bethuel Bathelezi, the groundsman at Wanderers, would be chuffed. Ever since the drought hit Gauteng hard, he’s had to find new ways to keep his beloved grass green. He had receveid counteless threats from social activists making him feel guilty for doing his job, which partly consists of watering the field daily. A new drainage system was installed, which would collect rainwater and this would be stored underneath the grounds.
The real challenge was that the rain just was not falling.
In the off season, a decision was taken to stop the watering of the grass. As a guest at a wedding of one of the Wanderers wonderful event venues, I was shocked at what seemed gross neglect of one of the most iconic cricketing ovals in the world. While the family speeches went into overdrive at the wedding, I decided to engage in debate with Bethuel in what seemed to be a suicidal decision. He replied calmly with a smile on his face: “Let’s just wait till it rains.”
And wait we did.
But then the clouds of change eventually gathered. As the water trickled down the zinc piping in the Wanderers basement, I could picture Mr Buthelezi breathing a huge sigh of relief.