Thursday, April 25, 2024

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KENSINGTON Oval is still at the crease and batting to host a Test match during next year’s England tour of the Caribbean.
That’s because the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has reopened the bidding process for the three-Test series.
Early reports had indicated that Barbados would’ve missed out on staging a Test as the WICB had allocated the three Tests to Guyana, Grenada and Jamaica.
But the ESPNcricinfo website yesterday quoted an unnamed WICB spokesman as saying fresh bidding is now in progress.
“It is correct that there is an ongoing bidding process for hosting the England series next year,” the WICB official said, noting there is a list of criteria the WICB has outlined to the territories.
“The winning bids will be determined based on an assessment of these criteria and will not automatically be the highest bids.
“The criteria involve a number of general and specific areas, including but not limited to, pitch and outfield, spectator capacity, accommodation, ground travel, logistics and airlift,” the official added.
Only this week, the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) first vice-president Deighton Smith confirmed Barbados’ willingness to host a Test.
“I can tell you that the Barbados Cricket Association is submitting a bid – we are discussing it with the Government – to West Indies Cricket Board, and our understanding is that the bid will be considered,” Smith said on the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation’s Midwicket cricket programme.
Barbados is an extremely popular destination for travelling England cricket supporters and earlier this year, hosted three sold-out Twenty20s between England and West Indies.
“I can’t imagine an English tour of the Caribbean without a Test match in Barbados,” said Smith.
“I think, the whole Caribbean knows that there are a large number of English visitors who come down to these tours, specifically to come and witness cricket at Kensington Oval.
“Kensington Oval is one of the grounds that enjoy a tremendous reputation all around the world and most English people who grew up hearing about cricket look forward to the day when they can come and see cricket at Kensington Oval.”
Smith admitted that Barbados wasn’t included in the WICB’s tentative plans as a venue for the England tour.
Meanwhile, former West Indies captain and batting great Brian Lara told SATURDAY?SPORT?there were too many people vying for Test matches in the Caribbean.
“We’ve got six million people, we’ve got islands with 70 000 people and they have Test venues, and we have no great training facility or academy,” Lara said yesterday on his birthday after participating in the Garfield Sobers Golf Championships at Apes Hill.
“With the likes of Dominica and St Vincent and St Kitts, it’s just a lot. Yes, we want to spread the cricket right around the Caribbean, but invariably you’re going to have times where Barbados and the main centres for cricket are not going to get matches. This really is the home for a lot of English people, so I am a bit surprised that there is no match here,” Lara added.


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