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EDITORIAL: Not good enough for the Oval


Editorial

EDITORIAL: Not good enough for the Oval

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FOR MORE THAN 50 years, Barbadians have been justifiably proud of Kensington Oval.

Long regarded as the Mecca of cricket in the Caribbean, the historic ground has sometimes been the envy of others around the region.

It was a fortress for the West Indies team in the glory days of the 1970s and 1980s and we have been fortunate to witness some of the finest moments in our cricket history there.

When the ground was developed for the 2007 Cricket World Cup, Kensington was afforded the honour of hosting the final of the sport’s showpiece event and was also awarded the final of the World Twenty20 three years later.

Additionally, Kensington can boast of being a multiple winner of the award for the best pitch and ground when the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) ran a competition during international series in the Caribbean for a few years prior to the World Cup.

It is against the background of this wonderful history that we are concerned over recent revelations that the ground is not in a position to host cricket for a few months because it has been overrun with foreign grass.

This is not the first time since the World Cup that Kensington has had a major problem that put the ground out of use for an extended period.

We recall that in 2008 the ground was not able to accommodate cricket for five months because the grass on the square had been killed after the area remained covered for more than three weeks following the venue’s use for Crop Over events.

With more than $150 million having been spent to redevelop Kensington, we consider the present situation highly unsatisfactory. For the ground to be unavailable for an extended period twice in less than six years is unacceptable.

Had next year’s Test match against England been scheduled for January instead of May, the match would in all likelihood have had to be shifted to another ground.

The consequent embarrassment would have come along with a major blow to Barbados’ economy, which is usually boosted by the thousands of English visitors swarming the island for international cricket.

The relevant authorities must ensure an adequate maintenance plan for the ground to be in tip-top condition year-round. We might not know if Kensington’s unreadiness has been caused by devil grass or goose grass, but we know that the present situation is not good enough.

We are not aware of similar problems at any of the modern stadia around the Caribbean and those responsible for the upkeep of the ground at Kensington must do all in their power to prevent a recurrence of the past few weeks.

Even before this unfortunate situation, which looks likely to force the Barbados team to play most of their five home matches in the inaugural WICB’s Professional Cricket League away from home, there were concerns that not enough cricket was being played at the venue.

We appreciate that other activities must be accommodated at Kensington to bring in much needed revenue but every effort should be made to ensure that whatever is done is not to the detriment of the outfield. Kensington, after all, remains first and foremost a cricket ground.

Let us hope that those responsible for the maintenance of the outfield will have it ready in the shortest possible time and we trust that this will be the last time something like this happens.

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