Iconic Kensington Oval, host facility for the 2024 T20 World Cup, nine matches including the final, is going high tech with the installation of world class field covering that will meet American baseball standards.
Chairman of the National Organising Committee, Ambassador Noel Lynch, in an exclusive interview with Nation Sports, said the field covering will be imported from the United States and should be installed by May.
“We have to move to the next level. The World Cup is massive and we are keeping pace. We are going to make Kensington Oval, an all-purpose facility, a total event hub.
“Cricket alone can’t be played at Kensington Oval. The facility must be able to host entertainment and football without the fear of damage,’’ Lynch said.
Field covering will protect the ground from adverse weather conditions like rain, or extreme heat, preventing damage and ensuring games can proceed as scheduled. Lynch estimated costs at between US$1.5 and US$1.9 million.
Kensington Oval will be handed over to the International Cricket Council (ICC) by April 15 and according to Lynch, Barbados is “on track” to have the facility in pristine condition.
He said that fans can expect to see a much enhanced facility with technological advancements which will move up the refurbishment bill from US$25 million to US$32 million.
“The Prime Minister had initially said the costs would be $25 million but we are now looking at $32 million with the technological upgrade the ICC have demanded for the Cup,” said Lynch, shortly after submitting a report to Cabinet yesterday.
Director of marketing and communications of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA), Steven Leslie, said the six light towers will now have the more durable LED lighting.
“The work that is being currently done at Kensington Oval will fall within the time lines outlined by the ICC. We have had the removal of the light towers, where the lights have been switched out, and will now be LED lighting which gives higher illumination.
“We also have a longer warranty in terms of the lifespan of the lights and that will enhance the product at Kensington Oval, so everything is on track to meet the deadline. One of the things that the Barbadian public will be able to see at The Mecca is an improvement of not just a cricket facility but to that of a multi-purpose facility,” he said.
Leslie said there will be upgrading of the suites and renovations done to the washrooms.
Yesterday was the start of public ticket balloting which will last for just one week, closing on February 7.
Lynch said that all those who go online and bid are 99 per cent assured of getting a ticket for the competition slated for June. He said each fan is limited to purchasing six tickets.
“The lead in price for tickets is US$35, but that does not mean that is the only price. There are three tiers of prices,” he said.
It is not a done deal that the earlier you bid, the better chance a fan has of securing a ticket.
“That is a probability. I am told, there is no guarantee of that, even if you bombard the website. It is not first come, first served.
“There is more than enough (tickets) to go around. We have estimated that everyone that bids during that first week will get a ticket,” he said.