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World Cup - Kensington Oval 2007
Stories by PHILIP SPOONER Compliments of the Barbados
Home! As Kensington Oval reopened with much flair and festivity,
the icons who made the reputation of the revered venue returned
to the pitch once more. Just before the start of play, National
Hero Sir Garfield Sobers (left, here driven by Division 1 cricketer
Nikolai Parris), and seven other Barbadian cricket legends circled
the field to acclaim from the thousands of fans who packed Kensington
just as they did in days of yore. It was a day of some lows, but
many highs as Prime Minister Owen Arthur and Sir Garry officially
reopened The Oval. (Picture by Antonio Miller.)
HALL is happy. But what's new, he is always happy, always smiling,
always bubbly, always the life of the party.
What's new is Kensington Oval, the spanking new
ultra-modern cricket ground to host the final of the Cricket World
Cup – the biggest event ever to come this side of the world.
The Reverend – former fast bowler, selector,
manager, board president, senator and minister of Government –
has fallen in love with the new facility which is the heartbeat
He celebrated with the thousands of Bajans and visitors
on Saturday afternoon at the reopening of the ground, which has
re-emerged after 19 months of hard work at a cost of $135 million.
"We have to know our history. We have to know
where we have come from to know where we are and where we are going,"
"We loved Kensington Oval in its former glory
but we have to move on. I remember when I went to play in Australia.
I chose to play in Queensland because the Gabba was comparable to
"But the Gabba has been transformed and so
Kensington will be transformed as well. In looking at the legacy
we can look and see that the stands we have here are without equal
in the cricket world.
"As we look around the great environs we can
see that this is something that we in Barbados will have a facility
that we can be proud of for generations to come."
Hall, who played cricket with Sir Garfield, described him during
a brief address as a great but humble man. "There is not
a trace of egotism in his body, but massive strokes of humility,"
Hall declared. Last year, the statue was moved from the Garfield
Sobers Roundabout in Wildey, St Michael, to be a major attraction
at the rebuilt Kensington Oval.
|The statue of cricket's greatest
player, Sir Garfield Sobers,
was rededicated at its new home, the spanking Kensington Oval,
yesterday evening. Sir Garfield, Prime Minister Owen Arthur
and members of his Cabinet, as well as a number of former Test
players, were on hand for the hour-long ceremony.
Crews continue to work 24/7 to prepare Kensington Oval and its environs
for hosting Cricket World
Cup matches, including the grand final on Saturday,
April 28. As the construction hoarding came down over the weekend,
the impressive-looking facility caught the eye of many passers-by.
Above, from the northen side, four special tents have been set up
in the area called the Plaza, where the statue of Sir Garfield Sobers
rests. Miles Weekes, chief facilities development officer for the
Barbados local organising committee, told the DAILY NATION yesterday
the tents were being erected for the February 17 opening event as
well as during the World Cup to facilitate security checks of patrons
and their possessions as they enter the Oval. (Picture by Gregory
History and legacy
The new ground recognises the history and legacy of the past.
The stands are of clean, sweeping lines, capturing
the spirit of another age and this age, of this island. It offers
the justified hope that the West Indies will supply a tournament
fit for the 21st century.
The 69-year-old Hall, who took 192 Test wickets
and 546 overall in his first-class career, said Cricket World Cup
would be the "crucible" of the renaissance in West Indies
"If we in Barbados succeed in providing a successful
event, as I'm sure we shall, there will be no wishing that other
places do not. What we really need is to show that the Caribbean
can stage an effective World Cup," he said.
"The event provides a crucible to take our
team from mediocrity to regaining the lofty plane of the 1970s and
1980s, even though no host country has ever won the World Cup. It
is okay to play in the World Cup, but it is better to win it. We
want to stage the best World Cup ever, but we have to go one step
further and win it.
"The world will see the cricket and they will
love it. They will see the people and they will love us, they will
see the grounds and they will love them. We can offer you something
none of the other venues can – entertainment from 6 p.m. to