The Sir Frank Worrell Memorial Ground at the University of the West Indies (UWI) St Augustine Campus in Trinidad will replace the Brian Lara Stadium as a warm-up venue for next year's World Cup, after the Cricket World Cup (CWC) venue development officials approved the venue yesterday.
The ground, along with Guaracara Park in Pointe-a-Pierre were the two venues being considered to replace the Brian Lara Stadium at Tarouba, currently under construction.
Roger Boynes, the minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, made the disclosure that the Sir Frank Worrell ground was the preferred choice, mainly because of the impressive state of the pitch and outfield. The ICC's reservations over Guaracara Park's proximity to the Petrotrin oil refinery was also taken into consideration.
Boynes also revealed, at a media conference that an additional sum of US $1.5 million had been requested from government's budget and has been authorised for the refurbishment of the Sir Frank Worrell Ground.
Don Lockerbie, the venue development director, said he was happy with the decision and gave due credit to the government for their organizational skills. He went on to encourage the concerned officials to continue building the Brian Lara Stadium the way it was designed, saying it would be one of the premier grounds in the Caribbean and very beneficial to the region's cricket.
He explained that construction on all 12 venues for the tournament needed to be completed in December to facilitate temporary seating and other necessary arrangements and was pleased that the work was on schedule.
"We feel very comfortable and confident that all our 12 venues are out of the woods," Lockerbie said. "They should be complete by the end of the year so we can go to the overlay phase."
Another venue earmarked to host practice matches is the St Mary's College ground on Serpentine Road in St Clair. Anand Daniel, the Local Organising Commitee (LOC) chief executive, disclosed that the agreements were being finalised, to add to the list of grounds - including the National Cricket Centre at Balmain, Couva - to hold World Cup-related fixtures.
Boynes also disclosed that the Sunset Legislation - which is needed to protect the sponsors' interests dealing with the important issue of ambush marketing during the World Cup - had been approved by Cabinet and will soon be introduced to the Parliament. This legislation does not require a special majority.