Bermuda wait for green light on national ground
Bermuda could be set to stage their first major international match, proving the ICC decides that pitches at the National Sports Centre have improved sufficiently since an inspection last year.
The surface was condemned by Andy Atkinson, the ICC's inspector, in July 2007. "The square at the Sports Centre is good enough for club cricket, but when you're talking about ODIs or longer games then I'm afraid it's a no-go," he said, adding that bringing in soil from abroad was the only way to rectify the situation. That idea was subsequently slammed by the Bermudan government as it contravened the island's strict laws on the importation of soil.
But Cricket Scotland said that it had been contacted by the Bermudan board (BCB) who are confident that ICC approval could come in time for the Intercontinental Cup tie to be played there in mid July. "The process for approving the National Stadium in Bermuda for ICC Intercontinental Cup matches is in place and we hope that a decision will be made towards the end of this week or early next week whether Bermuda will host Scotland in early July," a spokesman for the ICC told Cricinfo.
At the moment, the four-day game is scheduled to be played in Toronto where Scotland will then meet Canada three days later. But of clear concern to Scotland is that if the match is switched to Bermuda then it will present logistical issues in rearranging the initial flights and then transferring on to Canada with little time to acclimatise.
"The Bermudians are keeping us in the loop about their plans," Roddy Smith, the board's chief executive, said. "The ICC requested them to prepare a four-day wicket for tests and they've been playing practise matches on the ground for each of the last three weekends. The tests end this weekend and we understand the ICC will make a decision on the venue for our game during the week. I'd say it's looking likely that we'll be told to play in Bermuda.
"Obviously there will be a bit more hassle with travel but I'd imagine there are worse places to go than Bermuda."