Matthew Reveals Additional Upgrades For Sir Viv Stadium and ARG as Nation Celebrates Successful Hosting of ICC T20 Matches

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Minister of Sports Daryll Matthew (right) presents South Africa’s Tabraiz Shamsi with the Player of the Match award after the Proteas defeated West Indies by three wickets at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Sunday night
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By Neto Baptiste

Revealing that millions have already been spent on prep work at both the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and the historic Antigua Recreation Grounds (ARG) for the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup, Sports Minister Daryll Matthew said both venues are earmarked for additional upgrades.

Speaking on the heels of the country’s hosting of eight matches, including four Super 8 fixtures in the ICC event, Matthew said discussions are ongoing regarding additional upgrades at the North Sound venue.

“The stadium is due for some major additional repairs with [leaky roofs] being one of them. The other areas we’re looking at to do some work is on the lights where we’re considering changing out the lights to LEDs [Light-Emitting Diode] but that is a really big undertaking. We’ve spent almost $3 million now that the tally is coming in, on upgrades or preparation work at the stadium and the ARG which also includes the replacing of the side-screens, the replay boards … but the lights are really one of the areas we are looking to address next,” he said.

The ARG, which was last used for competitive cricket in February 2009, was one of two practice venues utilised during Antigua and Barbuda’s hosting of the tournament.

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Cricket fans turned out in their numbers to see West Indies take on South Africa in a must win Super 8 clash on Sunday (Photos by Johnny JnoBaptiste)

Matthew said a decision must now be taken as to the way forward where the venue is concerned.

“We have another big decision to make because the Antigua Recreation Grounds is in pristine state and we can’t allow it to get destroyed again during the Carnival festivities, so we have to decide how we are going to manage that facility so that it can be brought back into the cricketing ecosystem in Antigua and Barbuda in a great way. ARG will and we just have to make sure that happens while we continue to work on the rest of the facility,” he said.

The minister, dubbing the country’s hosting a success, said it was a united effort by all stakeholders.

“The local organising committee was fantastic along with the volunteers, the groundsmen, the cleaners, because when these games finish in the morning because of rain, the cleaners already start cleaning up and they are there until two and three in the mornings. National Housing, who really played a major part in making sure the facility was ready, APUA and Guzum [Trevor Watkins] who worked tirelessly, so it’s just an amalgamation of persons who came together to ensure that Antigua and Barbuda delivered, and deliver we did,” he said.

Antigua and Barbuda hosted a total of eight matches in the prestigious tournament with four of those matches coming in the group stages and three Super 8 matches that were held between June 9 and 23 at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

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