Guyana’s stadium first Class says ICC venue assessment team
By Sean Devers
After spending just over a day in Guyana, the ICC venue assessment team departed yesterday afternoon after updating the media on Guyana’s preparations to host matches in next year’s World 20/20 tournament in the West Indies.
Matches in the male version of the competition will be played in St Lucia, Barbados and Guyana while Women’s matches will be in St Kitts. Like in the just concluded World 20/20 Cup in England, both the semis and final of the Women’s competition will be played on the same day and at the same venue as the Male semis and final.
The 16-day showpiece is expected to start in late April and the match schedule, ticket prices and official logo will be officially launched in St Lucia on Saturday afternoon.
Yesterday, the joint ICC and West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) delegation comprising Tournament Director Ernest Hillaire, Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) President Chetram Singh, ICC Media Manager Brian Murgatroyd and ICC’s Events Manager Chris Tetley, addressed the media at the Princess Buddy’s International Hotel and expressed satisfaction with Guyana’s preparations.
“We are delighted to be here once again. Guyana’s hospitality is well known and there is a very dependable and well organised structure in Guyana for staging cricket tournaments,” St Lucian, Hillaire said. Hillaire indicated the visitors were pleased with the Stadium at Providence, adding that once again Guyana has put together an excellent Organising Committee team.
The assessment team also visited several hotels and the three practice venues (GCC, Everest & Police) yesterday. Tetley said he was impressed by the space in the Stadium. “This Stadium was one of the new venues built for the 2007 Cricket World Cup and as we expected, we are very satisfied,” Tetley disclosed.
The ICC official explained that hosting this competition presents different challenges for venues, since double-headers are played on one day and matches have to be played under lights. “Two matches between four teams in one day at the same ground require four dressing rooms, while the Media Centre must be able to accommodate much more journalists than for bilateral tours,” Tetley informed.
While the Providence Stadium hosted night matches in the last regional One-Day competition, the region’s 10th Test venue is set to make its debut as an International Day/Night cricket venue.
The team, which visited Barbados before arriving here, will travel to St Kitts and then St Lucia before Saturday’s official launch.
The visitors said the facility at Providence was comparable to any in the world for what they were looking for and emphasised that space is no problem. Tetley said a multilateral 20/20 tournament is much different from a Test match between two sides or even an ODI series, since it has a special atmosphere and grounds need to have a lot more space to accommodate the dug-outs, extra cameras and more media workers than at any Test match.
“The last 20/20 World Cup had 35 cameras at venues since 20/20 is presented as an entertainment package. We have come to the Caribbean with much optimism and we must say in regards to media accommodation; this (Providence) venue is on par to any in the world.
It has 6 TV rooms, 9 for Radio and can easily accommodate over 170 print journalists. Excellent planning went into this venue, Murgatroyd said.
The team described the Stadium as ‘first class’ and said that few additional work will be required at the venue.
The ICC wants to present a colourful, exciting and keenly competitive competition with the Caribbean flavour that tourists come to the Caribbean to experience. Hillaire promised a true Caribbean flavour after the last CWC failed to reflect the true Caribbean atmosphere.
“Some things from the last World Cup we would not wish to see happen again. There were dancers and music at Test cricket venues in the West Indies for over two decades and this is what 20/20 is all about. We will ensure that the Caribbean flavour is there,” Hillaire said.
He said the problems of the 2007 World Cup ‘is still clear in our minds’ and revealed that the WICB has made it clear that while Safety and security must not be compromised, Caribbean spectators must not be denied what they are accustomed to when watching cricket.
“The cost for food and drinks at the Stadiums, prohibited items, and ticket prices were discussed with the organisers.
Twenty/20 cricket suits our culture and I look forward to a very exciting tournament,” Hillaire, who headed the St Lucia Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the last World Cup, pointed out.
It was stated that ticket prices will be very affordable since ICC’s objective is to full the venues. 96% of the available tickets for the last 20/20 in England were sold and the ICC wants to better that in next year’s tournament.
It was also revealed that Governments will have little say in this competition since unlike the last World Cup when they played a major role in funding the construction of stadiums and paying LOC staff and had to have a major say in many aspects of the planning, the ICC is now footing the entire bill. Even if adjustments are needed at venues ICC will pay for it.
“Governments had a say in the 2007 World Cup because they were providing the money but now it is different. The stadiums are already there and many people who worked during the last World Cup are trained and experienced. The LOC for the World Cup were owned by the Governments with minority shares from the WICB,” Hillaire explained.
He said that this time, Organising Committees (like those set up by the regional Boards during Tests and ODI series in the West Indies) has been formed to manage things in the host countries.
“The WICB as the host has a policy Committee that oversees the project and we have basically one staff which works throughout the region. Each venue has an organising committee to oversee operations in their country.
This is very different from the last World Cup and very similar to what happens during a home Test series,” Hillaire added.
Singh said that Guyana is very experienced in hosting cricket tournaments and was confident that a memorable experience would be had by the thousands who are fortunate to be a part there.
Hillaire said that organising any major event provides challenges and to him the biggest challenge was coming up with a match schedule. “There is no perfect match schedule when you have so many teams, different venues which can only be reached by aircrafts and International TV stations who want matches to be played at the best times to suit viewing in their countries,” Hillaire said.
He said 42 matches are scheduled during a 16-day period in four different countries and the biggest headache was finding the best schedule to accommodate playing, traveling, resting and playing again and still not make the competition too long or get the players and media operatives exhausted and affect the quality of their work.
Saturday’s official launching is expected to be a pulsating affair filled with pomp and glamour, as the West Indies begin what Hillaire says will be an aggressive promotion campaign leading up to what promises to be the best and most scintillating 20/20 World Cup ever.
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