In the face of stinging criticism, the Brian Lara Academy at Tarouba has been handed a ringing endorsement following devastating floods which affected a large swathe of south Trinidad last week.
Indeed, following the persistent heavy rainfall which caused millions of dollars in damage to homes, and wreaked havoc for thousands of residents, a day-night practice match involving the national cricketers was actually played.
And this has brought a smile to the face of Manohar Ramsaran, a former sports minister who has been an advisor on cricket matters to UDECOTT chairman Noel Garcia since January this year.
UDECOTT is the state agency which was responsible for the completion of the billion-dollar facility earlier this year, and which is now administered by the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago, on behalf of the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs.
Ramsaran said that the Academy cleared a major hurdle when it made possible the national cricket trial match to go on, albeit for only two of the scheduled four days.
“But on the first day on Thursday, the prognosis was not good with all the rain and floods which affected people just a quarter of a mile away,” said Ramsaran.
He praised his ground staff and other employees at the Academy for working assiduously to ensure the outfield and pitch was suitable for cricket despite the inclement weather.
In fact, the cricketers and technical staff were amazed that the game could go on, and especially so for batsman Amir Jangoo who slammed a magnificent 150 runs in his team’s total of 420.
“The drainage of the BLCA ground is second to none. The imported Guyanese sand laid under the grass ensures that all the rainwater drains off within 45 minutes after the showers end,” said Ramsaran.
Apart from the five-member ground staff, Ramsaran said a contractor is performing a wonderful job on a daily basis monitoring and keeping the outfield in tip-top shape.
Prior to the official opening of the Academy, local teams engaged in practice matches so that Ramsaran’s team could guage and assess the outfield and pitch, and make adjustments in its curation to bring it to the required standard.
He said there were also matches in the Cricket West Indies regional women’s tournament which went on without a hitch.
Ramsaran was especially pleased that that the elimination matches and final of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), which home team Trinbago Knight Riders, gave further justification of the decision to grant certification by the CWI to play first class matches at the Tarouba facility.
Ramsaran said he is looking forward to the three upcoming matches involving TT’s Red Force in the Regional Four-Day Tournament.
“This will be the ultimate litmus test for the Brian Lara Academy. But we are confident that the facility will pass with flying colours so we are not unduly worried,” Ramsaran said.
And he fully supports the move by the TTCB to bid for matches in next year’s ICC Women’s World Cup.