BASSETERRE, St. Kitts November 29, 2006 – The nine Caribbean venues to host Cricket World Cup 2007 have been given the greenlight to host the games although the ICC Inspection Team was not 100 per cent happy with progress at some of the venues.
They were hopeful that the work which needed to be completed will be done soon and were confident that it will not affect the hosting of the games.
The last stop on the tour was St Kitts where the Local Organising Committee (LOC) got the thumbs up for a “great job” on the Warner Park Cricket Stadium.
Managing Director of the Cricket World Cup (CWC) in the West Indies Chris Dehring and Venue Development Director Donald Lockerbie said that they were impressed with the work done.
“I feel the pride of St. Kitts and Nevis,” Dehring said. “I think there is going to be a fantastic World Cup (experience) here. I think pound for pound, this (Warner Park) is probably our best venue. Everything seems to fit perfectly in St. Kitts and Nevis. … It really is a fantastic venue and we are proud to have St. Kitts and Nevis as part of our team.”
He also cited the cleanliness of the island, excellent accommodation and relative closeness of emergency facilities and interest spots for visitors as a plus.
Lockerbie supported Dehring’s comments and explained that overlay projects such as the extra 3,000 temporary seating which will be done specifically for the CWC are all that are required to complete the process. This and other overlay details will be done before the March 2007 start of the premier cricket event.
“You’ve got the job done and you’ve got the job done well,” Lockerbie stressed.
The ICC CWC delegation also visited Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada.
In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the major disappointment was the slow pace of construction of the double decker stand and the LOC was using strong words and threatening to fire its contractors who have not been able to meet the deadline for completion. Lockerbie said that ICC would accept the completion no later than the end of January 2007.
In Barbados the main problem was the roofs of the two biggest stands. They were behind by five weeks. The deadline has been pushed back from December 31 to the beginning of February.
Jamaica has more on its plate than just the venue. It is the site for the opening ceremony, a semi-final match and four warm-up game as well and expected to attract one of – if not the – largest crowd but Robert Bryan, executive director of Jamaica Local Organising Committee said there was still much to be done with respect to local and foreign transportation. Word is yet to start on several grounds to be used for practice and they have up to 21 days before the start of the games to handover the venues.
Grenada received rave reviews for its ability resuscitate from the rubble left by Hurricane Ivan a brand new stadium to replace the one that was destroyed in 2004 by the powerful cyclone. Grenada will host the Super 8 games. It was a big challenge for Grenada to ensure the venue was constructed on time – and to ICC specification.
In Guyana Lockerbie, expressed satisfaction with the work done so far but made no bones about the state of the pitch and outfield after last week’s visit stressing that component has some way to go. He added that the best expertise in Guyana and the region will be utilized to get the field “green, hard and fast”.
And in St Lucia the country was prepared.
“It is fair to say that this has probably been the easiest of all ICC Venue Tours to date because Saint Lucia has had the good fortune of proper planning and having a venue that is virtually ready and we congratulate them. They certainly have been leaders in the region in this regard and there weren’t that many things that needed commenting on,” Dehring said.
The ICC Cricket World Cup begins on March 13th at Sabina Park, Jamaica and ends with the final on April 28th at Kensington Oval, Barbados. ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 will see 16 teams competing over a day period. The tournament is divided into four stages, with matches taking place across eight participating countries, and will officially begin with an Opening Ceremony to be held in a newly built stadium in Trelawny, Jamaica. The 16 teams will be divided into four groups with the top two teams from each
group advancing to the Super 8 round. The eight teams will be playing each other in a “round robin” format; however, the two teams advancing from their respective groups will not play each other again. The top four teams in the Super 8 round, based on points, will then advance to the semi- finals with the two semi-final winners competing in the finals.