Bureaucracy to blame for Antigua fiasco - Lewis

The blame game for the Antigua Test debacle continues with the president of the local cricket board pointing a finger at government officials who he claims kept "the people with the institutional knowledge of cricket" out of the operations at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium (VRCG).

"There was a board appointed by the government to oversee the VRCG, but things have not worked so great," Enoch Lewis, the president of Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA), said. "What I have discovered is that there was a fight for turf. There was too much bureaucracy and in the process the ABCA was kept out of the loop.

"In the past, the ABCA has always reserved the right to employ someone to prepare the pitch and the outfield for international matches. The VRCG committee resisted that because they had a staff at the ground which they employed. But this staff did not report to us, and we wanted to have somebody inside there that reported directly to us.

"When we started preparations for the Test match and tried to find out exactly what was the situation at the VRCG, we were told there was an independent contractor preparing the outfield, and the VRCG staff was in charge of the preparation of the pitch."

The second Test between West Indies and England at the venue had to be abandoned after only ten balls because the sandy outfield was deemed unsafe for bowlers. The ICC has ordered a probe in to the fiasco and the West Indies board is set to appoint a one-man enquiry to investigate the matter.

Lewis said he was denied access to the ground when he went to inspect it before the match. "The first time I got to the security gate and identified myself, I was told I could not enter, and the second time I made it as far as the pool and was approached by a security officer asking me to leave."

He said the problem with the outfield was that it was not sufficiently compacted. "I feel if we were allowed to put our own people in place, they would have reported to us that something was wrong, long before this. But we were given the impression that everything was in place, and what we did was to ensure that from an operational standpoint that other things were where they were supposed to be."