‘Whatever It Takes’: Sports Minister Promises Changes At Sir Vivian Richards Stadium

Groundsmen at the facility have often come under fire for poor quality pitches
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By Neto Baptiste

Repeated complaints about the quality of pitches and outfield at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium has left the government with no choice but to take the steps necessary to ensure the cricket venue does not fall under any further international or regional scrutiny.

This is according to Minister of Sports, Daryll Matthew, who revealed that following meetings with Prime Minister Gaston Browne and now former head of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Ricky Skerritt and CEO Johnny Grave, government will move forward with the changes necessary to take the venue to the next level

“The prime minister and myself received a visit from the former president [Ricky Skerritt] and the CEO [Johnny Grave] of Cricket West Indies expressing some severe concerns about how the pitch and the outfield are prepared and the prime minister has instructed me to do whatever needs to be done to ensure that we do not suffer a fate similar to 2007. I’ve said well, I understand and I will do whatever needs to be done,” he said.

Matthew, when asked for details, did not speak to any specific changes and when they could go into place, but reports have indicated that these could include a change in top level groundsmen at the facility.

Matthew said, however, the complaints have been too frequent and far reaching.

“There have been some concerns expressed about the pitch itself and I can share with you where, reports have been written, I believe in the Super 50 [CWI], where several teams, captains, umpires, expressed some serious concerns in writing about the preparation of the pitch. We have been getting some repeated complaints about the preparation of the pitch. I know people are going to get up in their feelings and believe that the minister should not be coming on the radio and criticising anybody, but I am not criticising anybody; what I am doing is seeking to protect the integrity of the Sir Vivian Richards cricket grounds as a facility that can continue to host international cricket,” he said.

In February this year, president of the national cricket association Leon Rodney revealed that the body had written to the management of the venue, seeking clarity on the situation that would have led to a delayed start on day one of the CWI Professional Championships four-day match between the Leeward Islands Hurricanes and the T&T Red Force.

Reports are that the match was delayed by over two and a-half hours due to “wet patches” on the pitch. The match, which was scheduled for a 10am start, commenced at 12:48pm due to the setback.

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