England in West Indies 2013-14 March 12, 2014

WI plans could irk Barmy Army

ESPNcricinfo staff

A battle looks likely to break out within the Caribbean cricketing community after it emerged that several traditional venues could miss out on hosting England Tests next year. The matter is already being discussed in the highest levels of government.

ESPNcricinfo understands that the WICB is keen to grant the Tests to Guyana, Jamaica and Grenada, meaning the likes of Trinidad, Antigua, St Lucia and Barbados will be left disappointed. Barbados, which has enjoyed close to sell-out crowds for the T20I series against England, is thought to be particularly disappointed and is trying to persuade the WICB to change their plans.

With many of the Caribbean nations heavily reliant upon tourism, the allocation of an England Test is especially valuable. No other country brings as many travelling supporters and their willingness to embrace the local hotels, restaurants and bars provides a meaningful boost to the local economies.

The WICB has many nations to satisfy and many grounds from which to select, meaning disappointment is inevitable for some.

But at a time when international cricket is struggling to fill stadiums, it does seem odd to stray from a ground like Kensington Oval, in Barbados, which has a proven popularity not just for cricket supporters in the Caribbean but also for thousands of travelling England fans.

In the past, the ECB has privately lobbied for their overseas Tests to be scheduled in popular tourist venues, with the Barmy Army in mind and it remains to be seen whether they will attempt to broker such a deal.

The Kensington Oval is referred to as "the Mecca of cricket" in these parts - and where cricket lovers from England and the Caribbean flock in unparalleled numbers.

With a tour of Sri Lanka scheduled for late 2014, followed by the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, England supporters will be spoilt for choice over the next year, leaving the Caribbean up against it in any case to attract its usual quota of supporters for a tour scheduled for April 2015.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Earl on March 16, 2014, 12:03 GMT

    My favorite ground is Barbados.I like Grenada and would not return to St.Lucia due to very poor transportation after the game.My intention is to be able to visit all of the stadiums in the West Indies.It is difficult to spend lots of money to watch what is usually not our best team lose.I blame the selectors for that.

  • Dummy4 on March 16, 2014, 10:09 GMT

    Call me old fashioned - but why not simply make it a 5 Test series?

    Venues: Jamaica Grenada Guyana Trinidad Barbados

    The England team, staff and coaches would not complain about this at all as many domestic sides do pre-season training in the Caribbean anyway

  • roddy on March 15, 2014, 19:00 GMT

    The Windots have never hosted and england test so really its fair enough, but if you were picking from the 4 st lucia would be first and greneda last for sure.

  • Roy on March 14, 2014, 22:59 GMT

    Every time i watch cricket on line and the venue is Trinidad or Guyana there's always a sold out crowd, like the gentle said ( wapuser) " there locals fill the stadium" i remember going to Trinidad and Guyana to watch an England tour, had to buy tickets way ahead of time because the locals were buying them up so fast, as for the rest of the WI the majority of fans are foreigners and the locals are left out, on that same tour i saw Chanderpaul blasted Harmison for 5 fours and a six of 1 over in providence, so to the nay sayers i think Chanderpaul can play any form of cricket.

  • Harvey on March 14, 2014, 19:46 GMT

    Far from being irked, I know a fair few Barmies who would jump at the chance to go somewhere a bit different. What's more, it's the only Test series involving England next winter. It's not even as if the World Cup is going to be much of an alternative choice of tour for most people. The Barmy Army mainly loves Test cricket, plus the fact the World Cup is being hosted in both Australia AND New Zealand makes it a prohibitively expensive option for us and travelling fans generally. The Barmy Army will be present in numbers wherever the Tests in the Caribbean are hosted. I am a bit surprised the WICB is willing to miss out on the extra revenue from the Barbados and Antigua holiday crowds (many of who are only semi-interested in cricket), but certainly not disappointed. It's not as if there isn't loads to see and do in Guyana and Grenada, especially for those who haven't been before.

  • sunil on March 14, 2014, 12:33 GMT

    Maybe if you play a test in Guyana Shiv the son of the soil will announce his retirement and with that WI should retire from test cricket!!

  • Neil on March 14, 2014, 9:35 GMT

    Ropsh - you are clearly not a hotelier or bar owner, if you were you would be delighted for the Barmy Army to come to your town. Yes they can be raucous and noisy but they spend plenty of money and with most areas of the world in recession that can only be a good thing for local businesses. I find your snobby comments rather disingenuous, if you don't want to sit with them do what my wife and i do, move. Whenever I have bumped into them overseas they have on the whole been funny and they do tend to know their cricket. Remember this is the bunch that coined the nickname of Forest Gump for Andre Nel. (Check out his run up on YouTube if you cannot remember him.)

  • Ray on March 14, 2014, 4:36 GMT

    This horse bolted from over-zealous and inebriated WICB management which prepared for the CWC 2007. As international Caribbean cricket grounds mushroomed, our standard of play at Test-cricket level, dropped. The latter resulted in an increase in these whistle-stop tours by other Test-playing nations. In our hey-day, England came for five (5) Tests. In 2015, they will come for three (3). Some might even come for just one (1). So the fight for crumbs, was predictable, thanks to the short-sighted planning of our big `cricketing brains'. The Caribbean now has some of the most impressive goat-fields in the world.

  • Dummy4 on March 14, 2014, 2:23 GMT

    Why sharing the games among the Caribbean is a problem here.....the last 15 yrs Test matches had empty Stadiums in T& T, St Lucia and Barbados. Having a large crowd in the current T20 doesn't mean the Test Matches get the same turn out we saw the empty stands. Guyana get one Test every decade. Rotate i say...be fair

  • Dummy on March 14, 2014, 1:41 GMT

    Seriously! Guyana is the only nation among the west indies cricketing states that the stadium always host a sell out event....if that t20 series was playing here....the English would have had to pre purchase their tickets. ....so is the tourist who full your stadiums we the locals full ours...

  • No featured comments at the moment.