Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 21st 2017 Contents A46 sports
guardian.co.tt Friday, April 21, 2017
Lara, Tendulkar to square-off in Tarouba
World record holder Brian Lara, who
wanted to remove his name from the bil-
lion-dollar cricket stadium in Tarouba,
south Trinidad, is expected to face the
first ball and hit it for a maximum when
the facility hosts its first official match
on May 13, 11 days after his 48 birthday.
Sport and Youth Affairs Minister Darryl
Smith said Cabinet confirmed yesterday the
opening date for the facility and Lara is ex-
pected to lead a team in a T20 match against
a team led by another international cricket
icon, India's Sachin Tendulkar
Smith said the facility which was left unat-
tended for ten years was refurbished over the
past nine months for less than $90 million.
He said State Special Purpose Company,
Udecott, will hand over the facility to the
Ministry of Sports next week.
Smith said one of the features about the
project was a new pitch. he said in the past
weeks several practice matches have been
held on the new cricket turf and more are
scheduled in the coming days to determine
the status of the pitch.
Speaking at yesterday's post Cabinet news
conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St
Ann's, Smith said that Government has been
working closely with Lara, who has retired
from Test and other formats of the game, to
ensure things go well for the opening of the
facility and beyond.
Another feature of the project was the
Brian Lara Cricket Academy.
Smith said many people were unaware of
that aspect of the facility, adding that, "A lot
of people think it is just a stadium, (but) it is
also an academy." He said, "We are going to
be targeting secondary school students to
live and be trained there with the best cricket
coaches, psychologists, trainers, dietitians.
So it is a number of different aspects pulling
The Minister continued, the Minister of
Education Anthony Garcia is also involved
in preparations for the intake of students at
the academy, which he said was very likely
in the next fiscal year.
T&T vying to host CPL finals
Smith also revealed that T&T has expressed
an interest in hosting the semi- finals and
final of the Caribbean Premier League T20
this year at the venue. He said the Ministry is
yet to get a response from the CPL franchise
owners. He pointed out perhaps they maybe
awaiting the official hand over and approval
of the facility before making a decision. The
CPL is set to begin in August.
He said during the many years of neglect at
the facility, Lara wanted "to remove his name
from the stadium." Smith said: " He (Lara) is
very pleased now, he is very involved."
Smith said if the facility was completed
ten years ago "we could have made so many
other (cricket) records, we could have other
Brian Laras coming out of that facility."
The Minister added, "let us move forward
and enjoy the facility let it bear the fruit that
I know it will bring for the people of T&T
and the world at large."
He said Lara was "very pleased on where
it has reached."
He said the Government is to determine,
with Lara's involvement, the future man-
agement of the facility.
In thanking the "iconic" Queen's Park Oval
(a private entity) for its role in the develop-
ment of cricket in T&T, Smith said the Lara
Stadium was a Government facility built on
taxpayers money and "we want to invite the
region and the world there as well. I'm con-
fident the two facilities can co-exist."
Responding to a question about the amount
of money spent of the venue while other pro-
jects were being denied funding, Smith said
there was an equal number of citizens who
question why it took ten years to complete
such an important national facility like the
Lara Stadium. Lara is a cricketing icon and
the world record holder for the highest Test
score of 400 not out and the highest first
class score 501.
Holder looking to Windies
young bats for success
The last time these two coun-
tries locked horns in a Test bat-
tle was back in November 2016
at Sharjah in the UAE and the
West Indies won.
Five months on, they renew
acquaintances clad in white and
will be hoping to continue with
the fight that gave them that Test
win in Sharjah. The preceding T20
series and ODI series went in fa-
vour of the visitors but many of the
players coming in to do Test battle
did not take part in those tussles.
Skipper Jason Holder is hop-
ing for a repeat: "We have a very
good squad, a young squad and
they have done well in First Class
cricket. Now it is for them to
transfer their performances into
Test cricket. We have spoken at
length during team meetings on
what we need to do and one of the
things is that we need to finish off
well. In the past we got 20 wickets
but not enough runs on the board.
The key is to set up the match with
good batting in the first innings.
Added to this we have stressed
on consistency and momentum
and the need to hold on to it and
don't send it back to the Pakistanis,
when we are on top."
The Barbadian likes what he sees
on the Sabina strip: "It is interest-
ing with some moisture, some life
and some grass on it and it tells us
there will be something there for
the fast bowlers in the first hour,
or the first session."
The onus will be on the home
side to make this series more than
just a farewell for Pakistan stal-
warts Younis Khan and Misbah-
The opening Test match of
Brighto Paints presents Q Mobile
Cup Test Series at Sabina today
marks two special occasions -- the
50th Test at the Sabina Park and
also the 50th Test between West
Indies and Pakistan.
"This is a huge honour to lead
the West Indies team again in Test
cricket, and it is made even more
special because of this great oc-
casion. West Indies and Pakistan
have a rich history going back close
mindful that we have to carry on
the legacy established by those
great men who paved the way,"
"It is also significant that we will
be part of the celebrations to mark
the 50th Test at Sabina Park -- a
splendid occasion at one of the
iconic venues in world cricket.
To host 50 Test matches is some-
thing to be very proud of and as
a team we want to do something
memorable to commemorate the
moment for the people of Jamaica
and the entire Caribbean."
Pakistan captain Misbah said:
"It is a great honor and privilege
for me to lead Pakistan team in the
50th Test match between our two
sides. I would like to congratulate
West Indies Cricket Board, the
team and the local people on this
"West Indies has produced some
great players over the years and it
is always heartening to see both
teams go against each other on the
field. I once again congratulate the
host country on this occasion and
look forward to a great Test series
West Indies and Pakistan played
their first Test match back in Janu-
ary, 1958, when the visitors toured
the Caribbean for the first time.
The first series featured two his-
toric innings -- the first being Hanif
Mohammad's 337 in the second in-
nings of the first Test in Barbados.
A month later, a young Garfield
Sobers made his first Test centu-
ry -- 365 not out in the third Test
at Sabina Park -- which set a new
record for the highest score in Test
cricket. This remains the highest
score ever at Sabina Park.
The first Test at Sabina Park was
between West Indies and England
in 1930, when Karl Nunes led the
home side. In that match George
Headley made 223 in the second
innings and the home side earned
Action gets underway at 11am
GETTING READY: Jermaine Blackwood working out during the West Indies
training session at Sabina Park, Jamaica yesterday, ahead of the first Test
against Pakistan which bowls off today. PHOTO: WICB MEDIA PHOTO/
Former West Indies cricket captain Brian Lara
gets ready to play a shot in the Barataria Oval
nets during the Brian Lara Island Wide Cricket
Tour Launch back in February.
PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
WEST INDIES: Jason Holder (capt),
Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood,
Kraigg Brathwaite, Roston Chase, Mi-
guel Cummins, Shane Dowrich (wk),
Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer,
Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Kieran Powell,
PAKISTAN: Misbah-ul-Haq (c),
Ahmed Shehzad, Azhar Ali, Shan
Masood, Babar Azam, Younis Khan,
Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed (w), Usman
Salahuddin, Yasir Shah, Shadab Khan,
Mohammad Asghar, Mohammad Amir,
Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Mohammad
Last five head-to-head results
2016 Third Test: West Indies won by
5 wickets in Sharjah
2016 Second Test: Pakistan won by
133 runs in Abu Dhabi
2016 First Test: Pakistan won by 56
runs in Dubai
2011 Second Test: Pakistan won by
196 runs in Basseterre
2011 First Test: West Indies won by
40 runs in Providence
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