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A New Look Kensington Oval Should Help Revive West Indies Cricket
One of the major benefits of West Indies hosting the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup was the development of the cricket infrastructure around the Caribbean. The tournament came at a time when cricket grounds needed a major upgrade and cricket was possibly at its lowest ebb.
So when Kensington Oval the Mecca of West Indies cricket submitted a successful bid to host the Cricket World Cup finals, everyone was new and there was a huge task at hand. And when in 2005 after 110 years of first-class cricket the field was close, to begin what was an extreme change in time for cricket world cup fans to wait with bated breath.
After a year of heavy construction, Kensington Oval reopened on Saturday February 17th 2007 with a spectacle befitting a cricket ground that has hosted many magical cricket moments.
What fans saw at the new Kensington Oval was nothing short of miraculous, rebuilt at a whopping cost of 130 million dollars? The New Kensington Oval is a reminder of the commitment of the government and people of Barbados to sport and facility that has brought joy and glory to this small Caribbean nation.
The main attraction of the Kensington Oval brand has always been its rich cricket history. This intimate little cricket ground has been home to some of the most legendary cricketers to walk this earth. Kensington Oval has also been the scene of some of the most magical moments in cricket history.
You only have to visit the field and have a look at the names that are prominently displayed on each stand and you will be transported to a nostalgic place, names such as Garfield Sobers, the 3W’s Weeks, Worrell and Walcott, Hall and Griffith, Greenidge and Haynes, Marshall and Garner all reflect Barbados as a cricket powerhouse.
As Kensington Oval begins a new innings with the Kensington Forever show, featuring past greats, West Indies fans will hope and pray that the magnificence of this rebuilt cricket venue will inspire future players to produce more priceless cricketing moments like the some that were accomplished in the past. :
View of Dennis Atkinson and Clairmonte Depeiza’s 1955 match save of 347 for the seventh wicket against an Australian attack, consisting of Ray Lindwall, Keith Miller and Richie Benaud.
The highest Test score at the Kensington Oval is 337 by Hanif Mohammad for Pakistan against the West Indies in 1958.
He achieved Lance Gibbs’ best bowling figures of 8/38 against India in 1962.
Lawrence Rowe’s 302 in 1974 against England was described by the many fans who saw it as one of the best innings in cricket history.
Jeff Thomson’s fiery spell of fast bowling in 1978, which accounted for the wickets of Gordon Greenidge, Viv Richards and Alvin Kallicharan and won the hearts of Barbadian fans.
Michael Holdings at his all-time best in 1981 when he tormented Geoff Boycott with the first five balls and then clean bowled him with the last ball of the same over to send the Barbadian crowd into a frenzy.
Curtly Ambrose 8 for 45 against England in 1990 won the match and the series for the West Indies.
And in 1999, Brian Lara, who was serving a three-match test from the West Indies Cricket Board, played one of the most magnificent Test match innings ever played. He made 153 not out against the mighty Australians, the innings was declared by Wisden as one of the five greatest Test innings of all time.
And perhaps the most prestigious match the ground has ever hosted was the 2007 Cricket World Cup final between world champions Australia and Sri Lanka. Since then Kensington Oval has been mostly idle hosting only the finals of the Sir Garfield Sobers tournament, a hockey tournament and some test matches for the Barbados cricket team.
As we look to resume international cricket at Kensington Oval in 2008 we look forward to more great performances that will continue the legacy of this great ground. Our only hope is that the new generation of West Indian cricketers live up to the high standards set by the legends of this great game.
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