By Neto Baptiste
Sports Minister, Daryll Matthew, has sought to assure members of the public that the integrity of the field and pitch at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground remains intact following the staging of the Play It Out concert on June 1 at the facility.
The minister, who was speaking on another media platform at the time, said staff at the facility are currently working on critical aspects of the pitch and field as they prepare to host India in August.
“They have already started to do work on the pitch and the outfield and replant the grass, and so there is no worry that the field and the pitch will be ready for India when they arrive in Antigua and Barbuda. The only thing they need to check is that the drainage has remained intact because, of course, it runs underground and with the field being wet and vehicles running on the field to remove the stage and so on, they just want to check to ensure the integrity of the drainage mechanism,” he said.
Members of the public had raised concerns over the safety of the pitch following the announcement that the concert would be held at the facility.
Matthew said all necessary precautions were taken to ensure the pitch and surrounding areas were properly secured.
“A portion of the pitch was actually covered with mats and so on and the area was cordoned off to ensure that not too much was taking place. The rains came and we are happy for the rains but thankfully, on the day of the event they stopped and after the concert the clean-up started,” he said.
“I have been in contact with Mr. Conliff Phillip who is the stadium manager, asking about the condition of the field and he has assured me that our head groundsman, Mr. [Anthony] Merrick has assured him that the field will be ready,” the minister added.
The Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground will host the first Test slated for August 22-26.