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Queen's Park Oval up to challenge of double Tests

by Tony Cozier in KINGSTON

January 31 1998

THE Queen’s Park Oval is ready to stage the replacement Test between England and the West Indies, scheduled to start next Thursday.

Bryan Davis, the former Trinidad and Tobago and West Indies opener who is manager of the host Queen's Park Cricket Club, gave the assurance yesterday that a suitable pitch would be in place for the match.

``We had already earmarked a pitch for the original second Test (starting February 13) and we won't change that,'' Davis said. ``We have five pitches on the square and we'll prepare one to the east of that one for the new match.''

The match was added to the itinerary following the abandonment of the first Test at Sabina Park here on Thursday because the pitch was deemed by umpires Steve Bucknor and Srinivas Venkataraghavan to be too dangerous.

It is the second time Queen's Park will stage back-to-back Tests. In 1976, the Guyana Test against India was switched from Bourda because it was flooded by heavy rain.

Davis' only concern was that the new electronic scoreboard would not be functional in time for Thursday. It has replaced the large manual board that had been in place on the western side of the ground for 32 years.

However, West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) marketing committee member Anthony Harford left for Miami yesterday to secure parts in the hope that the board could be ready in time.

The only first-class match at Queen's Park this season – between Trinidad and Tobago and the Leeward Islands in the President's Cup just over a week ago – lasted only two days. Trinidad and Tobago, with scores of 125 and 87, lost by ten wickets.

Davis acknowledged that too much grass had been left on that pitch, creating excessive lateral movement. But he stressed it had not been dangerous and expected the Test pitches to have far less grass and provide a much better balance between bat and ball.

Meanwhile, chief executive officer of the International Cricket Council (ICC) David Richards, hinted at sanctions against Jamaica because of the abandonment.

``We haven't ever had to address an issue like this,'' he said. ``I suppose the ultimate sanction would be that we won't play there again but we haven't got to that point. I want to emphasise that is not an option on the table at the moment. It is just a theoretical possibility.''

The Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) appointed former Jamaica and West Indies opener Easton McMorris to supervise pitch preparation under chief groundsman Charlie Joseph, an employee of the host club, the Kingston Cricket Club, for over 30 years. George Prescod is the Jamaican board's chief executive officer and former West Indies wicket-keeper Jackie Hendriks the president.

Camacho said he and other WICB members had expressed concern to the JCA over the state of the pitch following unflattering reports from the President's Cup match between Jamaica and Barbados three weeks ago.

Source: The Barbados Nation
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Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 19:08