OFFICIALS of the International Cricket Council (ICC) are pleased with the progress being made at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy ahead of the 2024 T20 World Cup, being jointly hosted by the West Indies and the USA, saying all refurbishment at the ground should be completed by March.
The Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba is one of many venues chosen to host matches for the tournament which bowls off in June. Matches will be played in Trinidad, Antigua, Barbados, Guyana, St Lucia and St Vincent. Windsor Park Sports Stadium in Dominica was initially chosen as a venue, but the Dominica government, on November 30, said they will not be able to finish upgrades to the venue in time for next year. The US will host matches in Florida, New York and Texas.
Over the past two weeks, ICC officials have been visiting venues and Saturday's stop at Brian Lara Cricket Academy was the fifth inspection. The venue was buzzing with work being done on the outfield and also on the roof on the northern end of the facility.
Among those who monitored the conditions at the ground were: head of operations of the ICC 2024 T20 World Cup Khushiyal J Singh; senior manager of operations at the ICC Tulsa Woodham; head of public relations and communications of the 2024 World Cup Damon Leon; head partnerships and alliances at the Sport Company of TT Kairon Serrette and president of the TT Cricket Board Azim Bassarath.
"(It is) about ensuring that from a space and technology perspective that everything is in place...progressing in a manner that is feasible and on track," Singh said following the inspection.
Speaking on what areas need work throughout the Caribbean, Singh said, "We identified spaces within the stadium that will need upgrades, spaces that will need a touch-up in terms of renovation and that will include spaces like the media centres, the broadcast centres, the players and match official areas, spaces for the spectators such as restrooms, hospitality areas and a plethora of other things to make this world-class event run smoothly and ensure we have the space for all the overlay operations that are necessary."
Most of the venues that will be used for the 2024 World Cup were renovated or built for the 2007 ICC 50-Over World Cup.
The Brian Lara Cricket Academy was not completed in time for the 2007 World Cup, instead opening in 2017. Singh said this is a plus for the Trinidad venue as less work will have to be done. "The good thing here in TT, Brian Lara was one of the stadiums that were last built, so in terms of where it stands right now to the world it is in good condition, just a little upgrades here and there...we have been working hard over a long period with SporTT, the Government and the TTCB to ensure that we come to this point."
Singh gave the progress at Brian Lara a thumbs up. "I think from the presentation made this morning we are very happy with the progress and everything is on track right now...everything should be done by March."
The area at Brian Lara which will need the most work is the media centre, Singh said. He said between 120 and 140 journalists are expected to attend matches.
President of Queen's Park Cricket Club Dr Nigel Camacho was optimistic recently, hoping that the Queen's Park Oval in St Clair will fill the void as Windsor Park Sport Stadium can no longer host matches.
Asked about the possibility of the oval hosting matches, Singh said, "We are disappointed that they (Dominica) can't host. I know the people and Government of Dominica are disappointed too. Right now we are working out the schedule...once that comes about then we will be able to release it within the next couple weeks so that the public and importantly the media know as we go forward from here."
Bassarath said he was also satisfied with the progress at Brian Lara Cricket Academy.