BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – The Barbados Cricket Association has promised that the historic Kensington Oval will be in tip-top shape for the hosting of the matches in the upcoming West Indies Cricket Board’s Regional Super50 bowling off next week.
In a media briefing yesterday, the BCA’s chief executive, Noel Lynch, said the governing body worked hard to get the facility ready for the event, which will be played in Barbados from next Tuesday.
Along with the Oval, Zone B matches will be staged here at the 3Ws Oval at the UWI Cave Hill Campus just outside the city, and the Windward Cricket Club in the rural eastern parish of St Philip.
“Kensington Oval is 99 percent ready for the matches in the tournament,” Lynch told a group of local and international reporters.
“Last year there was a lot of discussion on the readiness of the outfield for cricket but we are pleased to demonstrate today that the field is in good shape and we are fit to host matches at the regional level.”
The former government minister added: “Also, we have the One-Day International between West Indies and England coming up in March, the continuation of the WICB’s four-day tournament and the Test match between West Indies and Pakistan in April, so we are pleased with the way things are looking here at the Oval.”
The Oval, which hosted its first Test match in 1930, is the most storied cricket venue in the Caribbean. It hosted the 2007 ICC World Cup final as well as the 2010 ICC World T20 final.
Late last year there was unease in the country as the outfield appeared patchy after the venue hosted several events to mark the country’s 50th anniversary of independence.
However, Lynch gave the assurance the field had returned to international standard.
“We thought it prudent to let the media come here to Kensington Oval to see the state of the cricket field, which has been a huge topic for public discussion, back in November, as to whether or not we would be ready to host any kind of cricketing activity at this beautiful and historic venue,” Lynch noted.
“The field is in a state of readiness to host cricket of this calibre and competition of this calibre.”
Last year’s losing finalists Barbados Pride, under the captaincy of Jason Holder from the start this year, will open their campaign against Guyana Jaguars on Tuesday afternoon in a day/night affair at the Oval.
The other teams in the group are Jamaica Scorpions, Combined Campuses and Colleges Marooners and the International Cricket Council’s Americas.
Lynch contended that cricket was much more than just a sport and as such, the BCA planned to ensure fans had a complete experience for the games at the Oval.
“A lot of planning has gone into this tournament and we have some magnificent activities planned for patrons when they come out to see their favorite team, the Barbados Pride play, against the other teams from across the region and the Americas,” Lynch said.
“We want to get people to come out to a stadium experience. It’s not just the cricket that on the field. Professional sport must have an entertainment component to it, and we want to encourage families to come out together and become interested again in the great game of cricket.
“The game has defined us and refined us as a people, therefore cricket is very important to us as a people and as a nation.”
Zone A of the Super50 will be played in Antigua and will see title-holders Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, Leeward Islands Hurricanes, West Indies Under-19, Kent Spitfires and Windward Islands Hurricanes pitted against each other.