I must confess I am never too disappointed to have ‘wheels up’ from Guyana. I first commentated there in 2001 and to be honest Georgetown has not progressed since then. Unfortunately the same can be said about the pitch.
All three teams will be pleased to have moved away from that sluggish surface that greatly incentivised the tweakers. Those playing conditions do nothing to add to 50 over contests.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that all the tracks are desperately slow in the Caribbean. The sun-kissed modernised island of St Kitts will bring completely different cricketing challenges. The track is not quick but it is absolutely fine and you can forget about sides playing three spinners. It is quite possible that teams will revert to the standard selection policy and only berth one specialist slow bowler from here on.
The one feature of the Warner Park ground in St Kitts that will grab everyone’s attention is the straight boundary size. It will not be much more than 60 metres down the ground and that will definitely temp launching batsmen from all teams. This aesthetically-pleasing stadium was built in 2006 and was voted the best venue from all aspects including the pitch and outfield during the CPL in 2014. I predict the next three games will produce a run-glut on a true pitch in Basseterre with welcome sunshine illuminating the occasion each afternoon.
The final leg of this Caribbean tri-series sees us concluding in the spectacular and iconic Caribbean island of Barbados.
The stadium in Bridgetown is brilliant these days. The playing surface will best suit South Africa and Australia. Expect both of these teams to contest the final.
During the golden years of West Indies cricket, when they dominated in the late 70’s and through the 80’s, the Barbados pitch was considered one of the two quickest pitches in the world. It was just behind the WACA in Perth for pace and unsettled many a batsman as they fronted up to the Windies fearsome foursome led by that magnificent opening bowling pairing of Michael Holding and Andy Roberts. Disappointingly the pace of the track has now dropped by about 40% but the venue still dishes up a pitch and conditions that are a delight to play on.
The Guyana leg of the series has concluded and those deceased tracks and ever-present gloomy clouds are a thing of the past. We can now look forward to entertaining cricket on good pitches as the pristine Caribbean sun beats down to warm the players’ backs. Now we are talking.