World Cup 2007 December 15, 2005

World Cup organisers confident of readiness

Mark Pouchet

The preparation of pitches at the Queen's Park Oval is high on the agenda of the World Cup committee © Getty Images

The Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the World Cup 2007 say they are well on schedule.

After Roger Boynes, the minister of sport, met with LOC representatives including Anand Daniel, its CEO, the organisers revealed that the level of readiness for the mega event, to be hosted for the first time in the Caribbean, was satisfactory. High on the agenda is the preparation of the pitches at the still-to-be-constructed Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba and the Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain.

The Queen's Park Oval is to host World Cup matches while the Brian Lara Stadium is to be used for warm-up games. However, Boynes stated that the organisers have asked Trinidad to keep the Brian Lara facility ready to host World Cup matches in the event any of the other island nations were unable to meet their commitments. That eventuality makes the readiness of the pitches even more urgent.

But Daniel dismissed undue apprehensions on the matter. "We're on schedule," he told the media yesterday. "The Queen's Park Oval ground is scheduled to be ready for the Zimbabwe tour of the West Indies next April....And with the award of the contract for the Brian Lara Stadium given last Friday, we are confident that that ground will be ready by about April 2006."

The name of the contract awardees remained undisclosed, however, because the sports ministry had not yet informed the bid winners officially. But Daniel added that going by the two-and-a-half to three-month period it has taken to finalise the Queen's Park outfield, there should be no problem with meeting the deadlines for the Brian Lara Stadium.

The Lara pitch must be finished in April 2006 before it is tested out with a one day international between South Africa and Pakistan in June. Daniel also explained that the accommodation requirements of the World Cup were well handled with some 2000 rooms (500 for players, officials and managers, 500 for media personnel, and 1,000 for spectators coming from abroad) already catered for. On the issue of transportation, Daniel disclosed that the LOC had already formulated a plan with interested parties.

Daniel added that a two-man team from the ICC - Mahesh Parma and Andy Atkinson, the organisation's pitch and field experts - will arrive on Monday to assess the readiness of the pitches at the National Cricket Centre in Balmain Couva and the UWI St Augustine ground, which will be used for practice.