Siddhartha Vaidyanathan's Tour Diaries June 1, 2006

Gearing up for the World Cup

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan visits the new Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua

Work in progress: the Viv Richards Stadium in Antigua © Cricinfo Ltd

With direct flights all taken, I had chosen to go from St Kitts to Port-of-Spain via Antigua. With seven hours to kill, there was enough time to drop in at the Sir Viv Richards Stadium, which is being readied for the World Cup next year.

Located in Northsound, around 10 kilometres from the Antigua Recreation Ground, the stadium lies in isolation with large empty spaces surrounding it. With mountains enveloping the ground, though from a fair distance, the top view is more like a giant crater.

Like the new stadium at Trelawny, located in the north coast of Jamaica, what strikes you first is the Chinese influence. Around 300 workers from the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) drive the building project and are complemented by around 100 locals. But why has the project gone to a Chinese company? Superior efficiency and better man-management skills are two points that are usually cited.

Deon Wilson, Ridley Jacobs's brother, is involved with the construction. He feels that November will be a reasonable time to expect the stadium to be completed; he also talks about a school game that they plan to play in July.

The capacity is expected to be around 20,000. The design, in many ways, resembles Warner Park in St Kitts. Two large stands at either end are flanked by large mound spaces on the sides. Bennett King wouldn't mind it - he recently spoke about how "concrete jungles" keep the spectators and the players afar apart and urged the authorities to think of open designs.

This article appears Siddhartha Vaidyanathan's Tour Diaries, pubished daily on Cricinfo during the West Indies v India series. Click here to read more.

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is staff writer of Cricinfo