International cricket officials are satisfied with the work at Kensington Oval and Three Ws Oval, which will host matches at next year's World Cup. Kensington Oval is slated to host nine matches, including the final in April 2007. Three Ws Oval will hold four pre-tournament matches.
Less than a month ago, Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur took over responsibility for Kensington Oval because its reconstruction was behind schedule. Don Lockerbie, the venue development director for the tournament organisers, said the work was going well.
"As a matter of fact things are looking fantastic and we are extremely pleased with what we are seeing," he said. "I was here during the Christmas holiday and again in early February and to see the extensive progress that has been done is very encouraging and Barbados looks set to be ready. So far we have had positive reactions and we are pleased."
Lockerbie was among four World Cup organisers and ICC representatives inspecting certain Caribbean venues, which will host the World Cup for the first time. "The countries we will be seeing are the ones that have had a little bit of delay," he said. "I hope that for the rest of the trip we will be able to say the same positive things."
Kensington Oval, the West Indies' most historic ground, will have double the seating to accommodate 28,000 spectators. The Three Ws Oval was a small ground with 2,000 seats nestled at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, about two kilometres from Bridgetown.
"Now it's a matter of getting the job done. We are spending in the region of US$275 million to US$300 million (euro230 million to euro250 million) to get the stadiums ready for the World Cup and we are building brand new facilities in every country. "We have made every country obligated to be ready by the end of October. The reason why we want to be finished by this time is that we want to be able to test them and all will be in place when the tournament gets here."
On Tuesday, the inspection group will visit Providence Ground outside Georgetown, Guyana. The following day it visits Queen's Park, Grenada; followed by Sir Viv Richards Stadium, Antigua; Sabina Park, in Kingston, Jamaica; and Trelawney Stadium, on the northwest coast of Jamaica. The other venues are: Beausejour, St Lucia; Queen's Park Oval and Brian Lara Stadium in Trinidad; Warner Park, St Kitts; and Arnos Vale Field in St Vincent.