With cricket being one of the sporting disciplines which has returned to some level of normalcy albeit in bio-secure environments, St Vincent and the Grenadines remains poised to host at least two international T20 matches between West Indies and Australia at the Arnos Vale Sporting facility next year.
According to Sports Minister Cecil ‘Ces’ McKie, “next year, we will have international cricket return to St Vincent and the Grenadines at the Arnos Vale sporting facility where we will host Australia vs West Indies in back to back clashes.”
St. Vincent last hosted international cricket in 2014 when West Indies beat Bangladesh in a Test match. According to Vice President of Cricket West Indies Dr Kishore Shallow, this country had been shunned because of the lack of hotel rooms on the island.
Shallow said last year, the governing International Cricket Council (ICC) had stipulated that rooms cannot be shared between players. He added that at present, the country does not have sufficient luxurious accommodation to facilitate accommodation for teams, fans and media who travel during tournaments.
The availability of rooms along with airlift into the country have been obstacles for the country in hosting international events.
The hotel stock across St. Vincent and the Grenadines is set to improve with several hotel developments by well-known brands including Sandals, Marriott and Holiday Inn expected to be established here in the near future.
Speaking at the opening of the Evesham playing field last Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves addressed the matter directly. He told listeners:
“We opened at Arnos Vale a facility fit for international competition. We spent in order to facilitate the warm-up games for World Cup Cricket, just over $50 million dollars.”
“We refurbished completely the Arnos Vale facility, the drainage was done over. I want to take you to some things as simple as that but vital. The other day when we played the Vincy Premier League and rain came the night and early morning and people said there is no way we are going to start any game there, but you are able to start as playing fields go across the Caribbean, it is one of the best drainage systems which has been put in professionally to make it easy that when it rains the water drain off quite quickly.”
He added that the government is currently doing some restoration to meet the deadline next year for the T20 cricket to be played between Australia and the West Indies.
He said he is hoping to see at least one or two Vincentians on the team for the game.