Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) president, Conde Riley says the staging of non-cricket events at Kensington Oval has had an adverse impact on the outfield, and with the venue set to host international cricket next year, better needed to be done to keep the facility grounds in tip-top shape.
Pointing to a plethora of musical and cultural events, along with football matches, which were hosted at the historic venue recently, Riley said if there was not careful management of the outfield, Barbados’ chances of hosting international matches could be hampered in the future.
“It (field) looks like a potato field at the moment because following on Crop Over, we had CARIFESTA, Vintage Reggae and the Hennessy Show,” Riley told Barbados Today.
“The BCA is not adversed to the staging of other events at Kensington Oval. The problem is they are being held at a time when a huge amount of remedial work is taking place at the grounds.
“It could disadvantage us from hosting Test and One-Day International matches.”
He pointed out that sometimes during these shows, fungus was brought onto the grounds on the shoes of patrons, which led to the grass being dug up and replaced.
Items such as corks and chicken bones were also usually found on the outfield after these shows, which did not augur well for the outfield.
“Two football matches were played at Kensington two weekends ago. Fortunately, the rain did not fall but the next morning, one could see the damage done to the pitch and outfield,” Riley lamented.
“In front of the Media Centre, where a stage was placed during CARIFESTA, the grass has been murdered. The parts of the outfield where trucks drove during these shows are in an awful state.”
He stressed the problem was not the sharing of the ground but the manner it was being managed, with some events clashing with cricket.
“Last season we were forced to play two matches in Dominica and Guyana that were scheduled for Barbados,” he pointed out.
“We believe playing those two matches away from home were the reason Barbados did not win the Regional Four-Day Championship because less than one day’s play was possible in those matches due to the weather.”
The Oval has a busy schedule ahead next year, with the venue set to host Zone A of the Regional Super50 in February and the English Counties pre-season tournament slated to be played in March.
Sri Lanka is also expected to tour the Caribbean with a Test scheduled for the Fontabelle venue.
“There is a Test match in June against Sri Lanka. If we don’t have Kensington Oval in pristine condition it will reflect on our ability to host international matches,” Riley explained.
“England will be touring the West Indies in 2019. The BCA would like to submit a reasonable bid to host a Test match during England visit to the region. Hosting a Test match against England can do a lot for the economy of Barbados, so therefore we need to keep the Oval in top shape.”
Kensington Oval is one of the region’s premier cricket venues, and played host to the historic 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup final and the ICC Twenty20 World Cup final three years later.
In recent years, it has hosted money-spinning Test matches against England and Australia and the final leg of a Tri-Series one-day series involving Australia and South Africa.
The last international game to be played at the venue was the second Test of the three-match series between West Indies and Pakistan in May.