Antigua outfield debacle

Sir Viv stadium suspended from international cricket

Cricinfo staff

March 17, 2009

Comments: 6 | Text size: A | A

Groundsmen dig beneath the surface of the Antigua pitch and find a sandpit, West Indies v England, 2nd Test, St. Johns, Antigua, February 13, 2009
The Test at North Sound lasted just 10 balls after an unfit outfield © Getty Images
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The Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua won't host international cricket for at least 12 months following the abandoned second Test against England in February. The match lasted just 10 balls because of an unfit outfield and the ICC has told the West Indies board that extensive work is required to bring the ground up to standard. It will then have to pass an ICC inspection.

The WICB has also been given an official warning by the ICC for the standard of the ground after the outfield was so sandy that the bowlers couldn't gain any traction. Jerome Taylor and Fidel Edwards managed 10 deliveries between them before the captains and umpires came together and decided to end the match.

"We accept the ruling and are prepared to move on," Donald Peters, the WICB chief executive, told Cricinfo. "We are confident of being able to work with the Antigua Cricket Association and the government to bring the ground up to international standard."

The problem stemmed from the outfield being relayed last year to incorporate a new drainage system and it was clear from before the match that the surface would be a major issue. The inspection will take place no sooner than 12 months from March 16.

Dave Richardson, the ICC's general manager - cricket, admitted the situation had done nothing for the sport's image. "The abandoned Test match was an embarrassment to the local authorities in Antigua, to West Indies cricket in general and to the international game as a whole.

"The image of the game and the integrity of our sport cannot afford to have such farcical scenes play out as they did on the first morning of the match. Steps must be taken to ensure that it never happens again.

"The responsibility for delivering a venue fit for international cricket rests with the member board. This requirement has been agreed by all the members and was reaffirmed by the ICC chief executives' committee meeting in Johannesburg last month."

Following the abandonment the Test was subsequently moved in 36 hours' notice to the Antigua Recreation Ground, which hosted its first Test for three years. The match ended in a nail-biting draw as West Indies hung on in fading light with their final pair at the crease.

Peters added that he hoped once the work was completed at North Sound that Antigua will have two first-class venues and said that in the short term they would look at using the ARG again. "It would be down to the ACA, but hopefully there will be something in place."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by KrishnanN on (March 18, 2009, 14:02 GMT)

@ John Awarding the match to the away side is not a solution. It would just hurt the cricketers. What was the fault of Taylor, Sarwan and Benn who fashioned such an incredible victory in the 1st test? No, as ppp rightly says some sort of heavy financial sanction would have been fitting.

I would also like to add that in the interest of test cricket in particular and intl cricket in general such farcical scenarios must be avoided at all costs.

Posted by ppp56748 on (March 18, 2009, 9:48 GMT)

the punishment is really less since there is no match to be played in the groud for the banned period. ICC has been very strong when dealing with Sub-continent teams in these matters. Where is the ICC technical committee? there should be a plan from the ICC to make sure that the techincal committe member(s) should visit the playing grounds before the tour starts to make sure the conditions are good for playing. these incidents give bad image for the sport. the punishment could have been more stringent. current punishment is very less that gives an impression that they can get away with these incidents. fines should be imposed as in the case of slow over rate.

Posted by vladtepes on (March 18, 2009, 5:45 GMT)

the punishment would be more relevant if there were actual matches planned for those 12 months. if the icc want to make the suspension mean something, suspend the oval from the next first class season. if nothing else it will give the wicb time to fix the mess.

Posted by john4924200 on (March 18, 2009, 5:18 GMT)

I agree with a comment made earlier, result should go to the away team, its only fortunate that the local board could save face with the ARG able to be used. Also some sort of ban on the ground will hurt the local board and also some officials need to be punished, rather than them escaping accountability by their amoninity

Posted by KrishnanN on (March 18, 2009, 4:36 GMT)

@ Bumpster Are you kidding me! I saw the entire match (for all of 40mins) and it looked more like a bunch of school kids testing their endurance levels on a beach than an international test match. And to think that the ICC is worried about the weather in Lanka!

Posted by Bumpster on (March 17, 2009, 17:55 GMT)

the pitch really wasnt bad at all, and could easily have been played on for the full 5 days.

Is this punishment fitting ... or is it irrelevant given that there was no scheduled cricket there anyway?
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