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10 trial matches for new World Cup venue in Antigua

Written by: Staff
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St John's, Antigua, July 6 (UNI) Amid criticism for the pitches used in the series against India, organisers of the 2007 World Cup are not taking any risk and have decided to have 10 trial games to test the 22-yard strip at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, one of the key venues for next year's extravaganza.

The pitch at the under-construction stadium was tested for the first time on Tuesday when the Antigua and Barbuda cricket squad played a Twenty20 match and the World Cup Antigua Local Organising Committee will be hosting more matches to comply with the ICC norm of having eight matches here by July 30, according to a CMC report.

''The pitch preparation is of paramount importance. If we have no opportunity to test the pitches we will have to go back to the ICC. The pitches are priority,'' said Martin Cave, the cricket operations manager at Antugua.

''We have every confidence that we have prepared excellent pitches,'' he told reporters.

ICC pitch consultant Andy Atkinson has visited the ground last week and gave a thumbs up to the preparation, he added.

Meanwhile, chief groundsman Anthony Merrick exuded confidence that all five strips would get the ICC nod.

''You want a surface that is fairly flat. There should be some pace where the batsmen can play shots. The pitches should be ready with or without testing,' he said.

During the testing period, at least two matches will be played on each strip, he added.

UNI XC AY PM BD1616

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