By Neto Baptiste
Legendary former West Indies and Antiguan fast bowler, Sir Andy Roberts, has expressed his disgust over the current state of the historic Antigua Recreation Grounds (ARG), given the venue’s rich cricketing history.
In an interview with Observer media Sir Andy, who represented the West Indies in 47 Tests and 56 One Day International (ODI) matches, said he refuses to go into the venue given its current state.
“It’s the amount of hard work that went into that place, the amount of money that was spent by the cricket association and the government in that place. It’s a government facility but at one stage, majority of the development in there was facilitated by the cricket association,” he said.
“I don’t even want to go in there and it’s a pity that we have allowed that place where so much rich cricketing history has passed through to be in that state.
“The government can’t do everything but I think we have so much companies in this place that benefited through sports that could have lent a hand to make sure that the recreation grounds didn’t reach the stage that it is in now,” he added.
There has been recent debate over the state of the facility where former West Indies batsman Brian Lara twice broke the world record, with 375 runs in 1994 and 400 in 2004.
The Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) currently holds a lease on the facility which is the body’s home for its Premier Division competition.
Sir Andy believes that, with work, the venue could be used to host some first class matches and place the country in a position to host more regional tournaments.
“We cannot even host West Indies under-19 tournament because we don’t have the facilities for that, but with recreation grounds, Coolidge Cricket Ground, with the stadium and also I may say with Liberta, Urlings will be coming on stream soon, that we should have been looking to host under-19s. St Kitts has done it since 1994 so why can’t Antigua do it,” the former player said.
In 1986, facing England at the ARG, National Hero and former captain Sir Viv Richards, scored the fastest century in Test cricket, reaching his 20th Test hundred in just 56 balls.
The venue is also the home for the country’s annual Carnival celebrations.