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Cricket World Cup - Kensington Oval 2007

Stories by PHILIP SPOONER Compliments of the Barbados Nation News

Welcome Home! As Kensington Oval reopened Welcome 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.)


Compliments of the Nation NewsWES 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 of Bridgetown.

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," he said.

"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 Kensington Oval.

"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."

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. Compliments of the Barbados Nation News
Reverend Wesley 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.

Compliments of the Nation News 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 Waldron.) Nation News


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 cricket.

"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 6 a.m."

 
     
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