July 24, 2014

Stadium ready to host ODIs, says Xavier

Anthony Xavier

Anthony Xavier

– curator promises pitch with bounce and carry

By Rajiv Bisnauth

General Manager of the Guyana National Stadium at Providence, Anthony Xavier says the venue is approximately 95 per cent ready.

The venue will host the first two One-Day International matches between hosts West Indies and Pakistan on Sunday and Tuesday.

Xavier said everything will be in place, emphasising that finishing touches are being undertaken at the stadium. However, he revealed that the parking remains a challenge since there are still encumbrances left in the area following Building Expo 4, which concluded on Sunday.

Guyana National Stadium, Providence looks in tip-top shape for the return of international cricket (Rajiv Bisnauth photo)

Guyana National Stadium, Providence looks in tip-top shape for the return of international cricket (Rajiv Bisnauth photo)

The area is expected to be cleared by Friday, according to Xavier, based on a promise made by the Housing and Water Ministry, organisers of the building exposition.

“Everything will be in place for cricket on Sunday, we are putting all systems in place for the matches and we are in the process of putting in the finishing touches at the stadium, the only challenge at the moment is getting the parking area which was used for the building expo clear; however, the Ministry of Hosing and Water has promised to have that area cleared by Friday,” Xavier said.

Xavier, former minister of public works, said the outfield of Guyana’s most modern cricket facility and the Region’s 10th test venue is in pristine condition despite the recent rains. Head Curator Hardat Thomas promises a pitch with plenty of runs and “bounce and carry” for the bowlers.

When Guyana Times Sport visited the venue on Wednesday the place was a hive of activity with workers sprucing up various areas at the stadium.

The Media Centre has been repainted while several areas inside the facility have been given a face-lift.

Equipped with the best drainage system among the international venues in the West Indies, Providence is among the fastest drying Test grounds in the world and Xavier is confident that if there is no continuous rain on match days, the games will not be affected.

The outfield looked lush green and billiard table smooth and Thomas, who came to prominence as a groundsman working on the Uitvlugt pitch, feels a lot more runs will be scored than usual. “Because of the soil, the pitches here (Providence) has been slow and helped the spinners a lot but the pitches for these games will be a lot harder with more pace and bounce and batsmen should be able to play more shots although the faster bowlers will get some help,” the head curator opined.

It was explained by Thomas that the rain has helped in getting especially the Mound area, which will be divided into the Party Stand and grass mound, ready for the games.

The second ODI is scheduled for July 16. Guyana has not hosted international matches in close to two years as a result of the dispute between GCB and Government of Guyana following the body’s controversial elections in 2011. The last international game played here was between the same opponents on May 5, 2011.

The WI/Pakistan series includes five ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals.

The remaining ODIs will be played in St Lucia on July 19, 21 and 24. The two T20Is will be played at the Arnos Vale cricket ground in St Vincent on July 27 and 28.

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