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Antigua will be ready

The Nation

February 3 1998

Official: Antigua Cricket Ground Will Be Up To Test AN official of the Leeward Islands Cricket Board says the Antigua Recreation Ground (ARG) will be ready for the sixth and final Test between West Indies and England in late March.

Incensed by reports over the past few days which suggested that the ARG was in doubt for the match, starting March 20, marketing officer of the Leewards Board, Pedro Corbin, telephoned the NATION from Antigua yesterday to ``paint a picture'' of the proceedings.

Corbin, a former Combermere, Barbados youth team and Carlton opening batsman, who has been living in Antigua for many years, said the square, which holds five pitches, was fully grassed towards the end of November and grass for the outfield was brought into the island on Sunday from Georgia in the United States.

``Five experts from Georgia were in the island since Friday with equipment and the laying of grass commenced Sunday and will be completed by Tuesday (today),'' Corbin said.

``There has also been rolling of the pitch so as to identify if there will be any low areas and those low areas which were found have been filled and rolled in.

``The groundsmen rolled again on Thursday and Friday and one or two low areas were again found and rolled in. They will roll again during the week and the groundsmen have given the assurance that a practice match can be played on two pitches by the end of February. That will give us three weeks to correct anything, if needed,'' Corbin explained.

Corbin said that former West Indies fast bowler Andy Roberts, who works with the Antigua Ministry of Sports; and George Purcel, an Antiguan who is responsible for getting the outfield in shape, had both visited Georgia ``to source'' the grass.

The so-called ``Bermuda grass'' is similar to that used for baseball fields in the United States, Corbin said. ``The experts say that baseball has been played on them two weeks after the grass has been laid and they have also advised that the conditions in the Caribbean are better for this type of surface than what they have up there. They are confident everything will be ready in time for the Test,'' Corbin said.

Concern over the conditions at the ARG has heightened following the abandonment of the first Test at Sabina Park after just 56 minutes play on the opening day last Thursday because of an unfavourable pitch.

Source: The Barbados Nation
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Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 19:03