Barbados Cricket Association president, Conde Riley, wants a cricket window to be put in place annually between September and March, to protect the outfield at historic Kensington Oval.
His call comes in the wake of the national Independence Day parade last Friday and the Hennessy Artistry show 24 hours later, events which were staged at the world-famous venue and left the surface damaged.
“We had a parade at Kensington Oval where over a thousand soldiers [and] girl guides marched up and down the pitch and rain fell, unfortunately,” the outspoken veteran cricket administrator told Barbados Today.
“After the parade, we had Hennessy Artistry with six, seven thousand people on the pasture. So that is what I am faced with.”
He added: “There is something called Rugby Seven that is supposed to be at Kensington Oval, so how do we prepare with all these things happening. The Barbados Cricket Association is not averse to having other games and functions.
“All my board wants is a window for cricket. Give me a window, so no shows between September and March, and from Crop Over you take the thing and do what you want, and we will fix it.”
The use of the Oval has been a sore point for the BCA in recent years, with the venue also being used to host various cultural and musical events.
And it is not the first time Riley has criticised the hosting of non-sporting events at the Oval. Earlier this year, he was highly critical of the staging of Crop Over events at the venue especially after the BCA had spent $200 000 getting the ground in shape for the Sri Lanka Test back in June.
In the past, Riley has pointed to the erecting of stages and the use of heavy duty vehicles on the Oval outfield as being inimical to facility’s purpose.
His latest comments also come ahead of Thursday’s start of the 2018-19 Regional Four-Day Championship, which will see three fixtures being played at the storied venue.
Barbados Pride host four-time defending champions Guyana Jaguars in the third round starting January 4, welcome Windward Islands Volcanoes in round six beginning January 31 before taking on Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in the following series bowling off February 7.
Pride open their campaign on Thursday but will face Leeward Islands Hurricanes at 3W’s Oval at the UWI Cave Hill Campus.
Of significance, however, is the first Test of the three-match England tour of the Caribbean next year which is set to bowl off January 23 at the Oval.
The England tour is a major revenue-earner for Cricket West Indies and the Oval is widely viewed as the marquee Test of the series.
Looking ahead to Barbados’ campaign in the first class championship, Riley said while the team would be without several senior players because of West Indies duty, it remained a promising unit
“It’s a very young team because right now we have several [senior players] in Bangladesh so this team that has been picked is a very young team but they’re very intelligent, bright young boys,” Riley said.