Amidst all the hype taking place over the players for the first two One Day Internationals (ODI) between the West Indies and England at the Guyana National Stadium this weekend, Stabroek Sport paid a visit to the venue where the man in charge stated that all systems are ready.
“We have been conducting all-year maintenance on the stadium so all that was needed was the repainting of some faded areas which cost about $400,000. Also there was the servicing of all the fire extinguishers around the venue,” Anthony Xavier said.
Xavier further stated that the venue, which is the fastest drying one in the Caribbean, has 10 staffers, including his hard working assistant Mahindar Ghanshairam, who ensure that everything is in place for events such as these.
“Even though we have the facility, nothing would have been possible without the efforts of the staff and even though they are a small number, they have been working assiduously to ensure Guyana puts out the best venue for this West Indies/England tour.”
“With that in mind, I must say we are ready. Even to the car park which will be manned by the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the external drainage around the venue underwent a massive cleanup for these matches,” stated the former Minster of Public Works and Hydraulics.
While the manager was exuding confidence about his venue, the curators of the pitch Wasim Habib and Hardat Thomas were full of pride in their project also, stating that preparation commenced immediately after Guyana’s last game against the Windward Islands at the venue.
“We knew the type of hype that was surrounding this match, especially after the West Indies success in the Test series. So we thought it best not to waste anytime in preparing for these matches, hence the early preparation which followed immediately after the last Regional game here.”
Habib, is known to be one of the top curators of pitches in Guyana, a fact recognized by the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) when they bestowed the honour on him at their annual awards ceremony. He assured that both pitches will hold up for 100 overs.
“The fans will be paying their money and they should expect nothing but their monies worth at these matches. It is with that in mind, that I tried to prepare two very good wickets that will accommodate 100 overs on each day.”
He continued: “Due to the dry weather pattern we have been experiencing over the past couple of days we have kept the pitch covered for a period of five hours during the day, so as to maintain the moisture.”
“The pitches will be even ones, favouring the batsmen a little. The team batting first can look to score within the vicinity of 250 to 275, but they will have to work hard to get it as there is something in it for the bowlers also,” said Habib.
During the course of the visit, workers were seen putting in the final touches to the venue, including the painting of the signs of the main sponsor Digicel on the ground.