By Neto Baptiste
A former cricketer turned coach, Glen Miller, is calling for the return of domestic cricket to the historical Antigua Recreation Grounds (ARG).
His call comes following news that the facility is due for a facelift, which will include the demolition of the famed WIOC or double-decker stand.
“I can’t understand, for the life of me, why we cannot continue to play cricket in there because you don’t need a rocket scientist, you just need to cut the grass, make sure you keep in the pitch and if it’s football time you play football, when it’s cricket time you play cricket and it can work. We are focused so much on taking down a stand and all these sort of things but I was listening to cricket in England, Australia, New Zealand and they are talking about recreation grounds and they are talking about Gravy [Labon Benjamin], Mayfield [Roland Hosier] and they are talking about Chickie Hifi. Are we going to throw away that?” he said.
Cricket was last played at the ARG in February 2009 after the second Test between West Indies and England at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium was abandoned on safety grounds after 10 balls. A third Test began at the old Recreation Ground in St John’s two days later on February 15, with the series extended to five matches.
Miller, who is the president of the Jennings Cricket Club, believes that given the historical significance of the facility and its popularity, securing funding for its upkeep should be fairly easy to do.
“A place like the Antigua Recreation Grounds, if you set up a committee there are so many people around the world and groups that want to see this place remain and that’s why I said that without a vision [the people will perish]. We need to keep it going, it can happen and I am pretty sure that local business people will contribute to keep that going,” he added.
The Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) currently holds a lease on the ARG with its top domestic competition, the Premier Division, hosted at the venue on an annual basis.