West Indies news January 18, 2010

Sir Vivian Richards Stadium set for March return

Cricinfo staff

The Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua, which was suspended by the ICC last year due to an unfit outfield, is expected to be fit again for international cricket in March 2010. The ground is currently hosting the four-day match between Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana, which is incidentally the first-ever day-night first-class fixture in the West Indies.

Samuel Emmanuel Spencer, the manager of Government Sport and Recreational Facilities, said a lot of work had been completed in getting the outfield ready to international standards.

"We definitely think that we are at that stage where we are ICC-ready again," Spencer told the Trinidad & Tobago Express. "Preparation was done for the Leeward Islands tournament and there was a successful Under-15 tournament here as well so considerable amount of work has gone into organising the facility and I think by March we will definitely be ready.

"This is a test for the ground and it will be proven to be up to ICC standards."

The venue, which started hosting internationals during the 2007 World Cup, hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons last February when the second Test against England had to be abandoned after the West Indies bowlers struggled to gain traction on a sandy outfield. The match lasted just 10 balls before the players walked off and the match referee deemed the outfield dangerous to play. Following the farcical events, there was further embarrassment for the West Indies Cricket Board after the ICC suspended the venue for 12 months.

The venue will not host any international games during the 2010 summer, which includes tours by Zimbabwe, South Africa and the ICC World Twenty20.