The Independent Voice of West Indies Cricket

The real Antigua stadium story

Fri, Feb 13, '09



by someone who knows

Here is a ground plagued with problems from the get go. The project was always behind schedule and Antigua was in very real danger of being dropped by the ICC as venue for the World Cup in 2007.

During the World Cup, it was the only stadium which had issues. Some examples:

    Poor grass coverage
    Excessive sand
    Drainage problems

The project was perhaps not managed properly -- the outfield was initially completed before the South Stand was finished. So, heavy equipment was place on the field (near the boundary) to lift and put the roof structure in place. Drainage pipes were damaged, and the shadow now cast by the massive roof prevented the grass from getting adequate sunlight during the growing-in process.

The heavy equipment also damaged some of the underground drainage pipes, and this is what caused that problem during the World Cup.

When the stand was completed, remedial work had to be undertaken on sections of the outfield, particularity the straight boundary areas in front of both stands. There was not enough time for this remedial work to have the desired effect.

That is the reason why there were problems during the CWC.  But today is two $%^ing years later!  And there was a Test match last year which highlighted the same &%$#ing problems!!!

Late last year, a regional company which built three other fields for the CWC was hired to "fix" the problems -- essentially to redo the entire outfield.

The profile of what was discovered when they began work was alarming to say the least:

Clay on top of sand instead of vice-versa
Crushed drainage pipes
All sorts of garbage compacted at the base

The project time line was immediately doubled.

Additionally, 10 days were lost (at the behest of the Government) during the rehab project to facilitate a concert being staged there during Christmas.

I say all of that to say that I agree that this is a huge embarrassment, that people in positions of responsibility should lose those positions, that the game should never have been allowed to start.

Players and umpires have been publicly expressing doubts about the suitability of the ground, especially the bowlers' run-ups. How hard would it have been to simulate a spell of bowling two days before the game?

This is just total bull$hit all around.