SVG served with early notice
Last week, Cricket West Indies formally released its itinerary for the next three years of hosting international cricket matches in the Caribbean.
The list shows the senior men’s team engaged in 11 Test matches, 20 One-Day Internationals and 36 Twenty/20 Internationals.
Most significantly, the itinerary gave confirmation to earlier indications, that St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Arnos Vale Playing Field will be the venue for two back-to-back Twenty/20 matches versus Australia in June 2021.
Indeed, this is welcomed news to St Vincent and the Grenadines, as the country last hosted a major international cricket match back in 2014, but that was when New Zealand women faced the West Indies women in T/20 internatuonals.
But on the men’s side, the Arnos Vale venue hosted two T/20 internationals, West Indies versus Pakistan in July 2013.
Hence, it will be eight years after, before that level of international cricket will be returning to our shores.
Therefore, with that early notice, it gives the cricket and government authorities time to plan in detail.
A big part of the planning, will have to do with the upgrade of the Arnos Vale venue, as it stands, much work in needed to have it really and truly deemed international standards.
It is opportune for much of the needed infrastucture to be looked at, and the necessary corrective measures instituted.
Surely, a lot has happened, which leads to the need of urgent attention to be paid to all facets of the venue, which is this country’s premiere sporting facility.
Inclusive of the anticipated developments to the Arnos Vale Playing Field, are the erection of a the electronic scoreboard and a replay screens.
These two are now necessities at cricket venues, for the shorter forms – the ODIs and the T/20Is.
Over the years, these two lacking pieces of infrastructure have been blamed for St Vincent and the Grenadines’ drought in being accorded international cricket matches, especially involving the men’s team.
So fixing that should be a matter of priority, so that St Vincent and the Grenadines can begin again to be looked upon favourably, beyond 2021.
No more can we be given the “dregs”, as it were in cricket; a few matches with some international teams, such as insignificant, unofficial Test matches, which are dished out now and again.
We have to look beyond the satifaction of hosting West Indies Under-19 tournaments, the senior women’s tournament, the regional Under-16 and the customary matches in the regional four-day tournament.
Obviously, whilst these matches bring in some revenue to the national income, they do not have the appeal of giving St Vincent and the Grenadines that advertising boost, as what is readily in the package of the ODIs and the T/20Is.
So, St Vincent and the Grenadines have just about 20 months to get ready for the two scheduled T/20 Internationals in 2021.
Apart from ironing out the infrastructural kinks, it is ample time to package the experience, such that the country as a whole, would maximise.
Yes, we know that Australia does not have a following to these parts of the world in droves, as in the case when England is on tour of the Caribbean, but it will be remiss of us if we don’t ensure that whoever visits, it will not be just only for the cricket.
The hosting of such matches for St Vincent and the Grenadines, is no longer a given, as the competition is fierce, as each country endeavours to out do the other in its quest to deliver.
St Vincent and the Grenadines has to be on top of its game, to be in the mix, as we have been lagging behind.
The parts of the matrix are being pieced together, as we two years ago, commissioned the Argyle International Airport, and there is a move to have more hotel rooms.
It is therefore mandatory now for us to do what is necessary to have the Arnos Vale Playing Field, in this ever-changing environment, evolve to the status of having the basic standards of an international cricket venue.