Expect massive changes to Sabina Park when India visit the Caribbean later this year. Jamaica's No.1 sporting venue will be transformed to host the first one-day international on May 18 and the fourth and final Test from June 30 to July 4.
The famous Red Stripe Mound, which for the last ten years occupied prime real estate on the north east side, has been moved to the eastern side of the ground and party fans will have the pleasure of watching master batsmen Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara from square-on. This move has been made by architect Jeff Keas as part of the US$28 million redevelopment project as the ground has 11 months to get ready to host the first round and semi-finals of the 2007 World Cup (CWC).
"We had to move the mound area to facilitate several new elements which we will be bringing to the ground," said Keas, a 37-year-old American who is a senior associate with HOK Sport, an international development firm.
The mound, which was the brainchild of Chris Dehring, the CWC's chief executive officer, has become a fixture at Sabina Park as fans cram the area, which offers food and drinks, music, and a makeshift beach, in an all-inclusive package. Every CWC venue will have one during next year's tournament.
"We understand the immense importance of the mound and we want to preserve that," Keas said yesterday as he and other CWC officials toured Sabina. "We will actually have a larger area for the new mound than we would have had before, and we will remove the eastern stand." With the mound gone, the space will be used for a massive north stand. It will stretch from the north-east to the north-west and the old Air Jamaica Stand and the old media centre have been demolished. Construction is on the way for a new five-storey stand which will house the players' dressing rooms, the broadcast and print media facilities and 75 corporate hospitality boxes.