Viv Richards pained by ground condition

February 14th, 2009 - 6:26 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 14 (IANS) West Indies great Vivian Richards was pained to see the second Test match between West Indies and England abandoned Friday, due to an unfit outfield at the Antigua ground that bears his name.

It took just 10 balls for both the teams to decide that the ground at the Sir Viv Richards Stadium was too dangerous to play on. Put into bat, England were 7/0 in 1.4 overs when play was stopped after West Indies bowlers complained that they couldn’t keep their footing on the outfield, which is made up of a thick layer of sand in parts.

After much discussion, Match Referee Alan Hurst declared the match abandoned and the authorities shifted it to the Antigua Recreation Ground.

“This is not a shot in the foot for West Indies cricket, this is an arrow right through the heart. This is a huge pill to swallow, I know there are a lot of folks around these parts who love their cricket,” Richards was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph.

Richards’ long-time friend and former Somerset team-mate Ian Botham was also critical of the ground that was relaid last autumn but has suffered from poor grass growth as a result of the high stands that cast a shadow on the outfield.

“This is shambolic. It’s a joke and it is a beach. Why the players agreed to play here is beyond me. The officials need to act, they need to act quickly and they need to let the public know. The real problem is that the only people at this ground are English supporters who’ve come here. There are very few locals, if any,” said Botham.

Former West Indies bowler Michael Holding blamed the local authorities for the incident. “The ICC don’t have control over what happens here on any of the islands or in any ground around the world. It’s the local cricket board, whether it’s the West Indies Cricket Board or the Leeward Islands Cricket Association.”

In terms of the immediate future for the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, the venue will now be subject to the start of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process.

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