Oval's pitch holds the spotlight


Wednesday, February 4, 1998

FOLLOWING the aborted First Test between England and the West Indies at Sabina Park, Jamaica last Thursday-which was abandoned due to unfit pitch conditions-the Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain has been buzzing with excitement.

Staff and officials there are busy preparing for tomorrow's Test action between England and the West Indies.

But, as far as Queen's Park Oval cricketing administrator Bryan Davis is concerned, Thursday will be just another normal's day play.

``The pitch will be ready for play and should be a balanced one for both bowler and batsman,'' Davis told the Express yesterday. ``I expect it to play like a good normal Test wicket. Of course, the wicket at the Oval has traditionally been a slow one. But I believe that what you put into it, you will get out of it.''

Davis and his groundsmen have not been the only busy ones at the Oval this week. The British media have been working overtime-and almost getting under the feet of the workmen-as they strive to predict the way the Test wicket will play.

``The Queen's Park Oval has been having some unusual popularity,'' said Davis. ``Just this morning (Tuesday) I have had four or five interviews. Reporters are everywhere! There is the BBC, Sky TV and many other English print and radio journalists. I was just speaking to a local reporter and he told me that the BBC have as many as 40 reporters down here.''

The pitch has not been the only concern for the local and foreign media. Any possibility of having the electronic scoreboard ready for tomorrow's play has been long ruled out and-up to lunchtime yesterday-ground staff were still busily building a wooden scoreboard at the eastern end of the Oval. This will be used only temporarily and cricket fans should, for the first time, be reading their scores off its electronic replacement by the start of the Third Test on February 13.

Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board of Control (TTCBC) member Ronald Cape also expressed confidence that the ground would be fit and ready tomorrow. He said the TTCBC is expecting a good crowd despite the short notice because it is the first home Test for new West Indies skipper Brian Lara.

``So far results have been encouraging,'' Cape said. ``A lot of people have been calling in to enquire about tickets which will go on sale from 10 a.m. today.''

Tickets are on sale from today at L Jaggernauth and Sons Ltd in San Fernando and at TTCBC offices in Couva and at the Oval. They are priced at $90 for the Jeffrey Stollmeyer stand, $75 for the Errol Dos Santos and Geddes Grant stands, $50 for the Learie Constantine Stand and $25 for grounds.

Source: The Express (Trinidad)

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Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 19:02