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March 21, 2008
Elvin James, the former Bermuda bowler and the country's current sports minister, is confident Bermuda will be in a position to host Scotland for an Intercontinental Cup match in July, providing the pitch at the National Sports Centre receives the ICC seal of approval.
The sub-standard pitch at the ground in Hamilton has long been a source of controversy. It hasn't hosted an international in four years and Bermuda are the only side outside the six Associates not to have a ground that is accredited to host ODIs. In 2007 Andy Atkinson, the ICC's pitch consultant, deemed the pitch suitable for club cricket but not for internationals owing to the loose, sandy soil. His suggestion that Bermuda should import foreign soil was lambasted as reckless by government ministers."
There is light at the end of the tunnel however, and the ICC are due to make an inspection in the next few months.
"I was up at the NSC yesterday [Tuesday] and I think we have a tentative commitment based on an inspection that is going to take place in the next few months. And it will be ready for the four-day match," James told the Royal Gazette. "The experts haven't given me their formula, but they told me that with the roller, sunshine, a little water and manpower they will have that wicket ready at a level that will make us proud."
Clifford Wade, the general manager of the NSC, shares James's optimism. "We are going to produce the best wicket possible," he declared. "We have consulted with local groundsman and right now we are just waiting for the weather to warm up."
If the pitch is approved, Bermuda could host its first international in four years when they take on Scotland, otherwise it will be held in Canada who own the only two international venues in the ICC Americas region.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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