Cricket officials are developing contingency plans for the island to host a Test match at an alternate venue in the event that the planned expansion of Kensington Oval makes the ground unavailable ahead of the 2007 World Cup.

A schedule and timeline prepared by experts, however, does not envisage that Kensington will be unavailable for Test cricket between 2004 and 2006, but regional first-class matches are likely to be shifted to another venue.

The disclosure was made yesterday by Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) president Stephen Alleyne during a session to update the private sector on the requirements of the World Cup.

"There can be delays from time to time and sometimes they are completely outside of the control of those who are working on the project," Alleyne told SUNSPORT after the session at the Caribbean Development Bank.

"At this time, we would still expect Test cricket to continue at Kensington and we have a contingency plans in place if, as time goes on, we find that there is significant slippage in the project."

If that were the case, the main options being considered are playing the Test outside Barbados or staging the match at another ground here.

With Kensington unavailable for two matches at the start of the Carib Beer Series earlier this year, regional first-class matches were staged at the Windward Club ground in Lucas Street, St Philip, and the North Stars Club ground in Crab Hill, St Lucy.

In another two weeks, Barbados will welcome its fourth first-class venue when the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) stages the encounter between the touring Australians and the UWI Vice-Chancellor's XI.

There would be obvious concerns, however, about the ability of grounds like Cave Hill, Windward and North Stars to upgrade these facilities to stage a Test match.

"The technology involved in building temporary facilities has advanced to such a stage that it brings within the realm of the possible the chances of taking the best of the grounds in Barbados and building a temporary structure around it which could be sufficiently good to host a Test match," Alleyne said.

"There are facilities in the United States which are built on a purely temporary basis to house as many as 50 000 people, playing surface and all the other accoutrements that are necessary.

"There are options which are available. As we go more deeply into the planning of the project, that is something we'll keep constantly in focus."