ICC decides against moving Group A WT20 matches from St Lucia to Antigua

Adam Collins
11 Nov 2018
ICC decides against moving Group A WT20 matches from St Lucia to Antigua

The Darren Sammy Stadium. ©ICC

Adam Collins from St Lucia

Despite torrents of rain smashing the island nation of St Lucia over the last four days, the decision has been made by the International Cricket Council that the show must go on and the remaining women's World T20 matches scheduled here will not be moved to Antigua.

Officials from the ICC explored on Sunday morning the option of shifting the tournament 220 miles north to Antigua, the country that will host the semi-finals and final on the 22nd and 24th of this month, but could not guarantee more cricket there than in sodden St Lucia.

The assessment was that 72 hours would be required to prepare the facility but that timeline could not be met if Antigua was subsequently hit with rain itself. On Saturday alone, when England had their first game of the tournament washed out against Sri Lanka, St Lucia was smashed with 113mm of rain, more than half the received here on average in November.

For England's part, they were able to conduct a modified training session on parts of the outfield that were not entirely soaked through before rain arrived again. So keen to practice after four days stuck indoors, batters took turns at receiving throw-downs on concrete underneath one of the Darren Sammy Stadium grandstands.

England's coach, Mark Robinson, expressed frustration and disappointment. "You've got to ask those questions don't you?" he said when asked if the tournament should have avoided the month of November.

"I know it's the back end of the hurricane season, it's not April or February or January which would've been safer months. It is what it is."

Speaking ahead of the ICC decision and England's scheduled game against Bangladesh at the the ground on Monday, Robinson said that he was open to having games shifted to Antigua. "We just want to play," he said.

"But you feel really, really sad for the people of St Lucia. You can tell the effort that has gone into this. If you got hit by a freakish bad day, it wouldn't feel as bad but you look at the forecast and it lined up for rain and last night it was torrential."

Robinson said that avoiding cabin fever was important. "The girls have been brilliant," he added. "They have been very adaptable with what's happened and we're trying to get that balance between not just putting in the gym for the sake of it, so the social committee kicks in with those sort of things. It helps being in a nice place as well."

In terms of preparing for playing in suboptimal conditions, Robinson noted that it now becomes a major part of their planning for when they do eventually get on. "We talk about the need to practice with wet balls and what we would do it if came down to a five-over game," he said. "We are aware that if we lose the Bangladesh game tomorrow then we're into potentially do-or-die games against two very good teams in South Africa and West Indies."

A major theme of Robinson's during England's successful World Cup campaign last year was resilience – especially after they lost their tournament opener to India in a preview of the eventual final. "We've never said we're this great team what we said is that we are a proper team," he concluded. "We have shown resilience. We have had overall an ability to keep games alive and that's just from bloody-mindedness."

Chris Tetley, the ICC head of events, said in a statement: “Our absolute priority is to do everything we can to play cricket and as such in light of the forecast in Saint Lucia, we explored alternative options for Group A games. After considering a range of factors including a detailed analysis of weather forecasts in both Saint Lucia and Antigua and an inspection of the square and outfield in Antigua, we have taken the decision to continue as scheduled.”

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