US CWC hopes hit for six

The ICC last night announced the eight venues that have been chosen to host matches during the tournament being staged in the West Indies.

It had been widely expected the US would stage games in Florida in a move to help kick-start a new wave of interest in the sport.

But ICC chiefs said the US government was able to offer no guarantees as to the fast processing of visas to allow players to enter its borders, and could not risk a high profile embarrassment should players be barred entry.

Said an ICC spokesman: “The bid from the US was unable to guarantee all players would be able to travel, perhaps at short notice.”

The US may still get to host some ICC-endorsed games in the run-up to the 2007 tournament, however.

A total of 12 bids were received to host matches in cricket’s most prestigious One-Day International event, with the following eight venues selected:

Antigua – new venue; Barbados – Kensington Oval; Grenada – Queens Park; Guyana -new venue; Jamaica – Sabina Park; St Kitts – Warner Park; St Lucia – Beausejour Stadium; Trinidad and Tobago – Queens Park Oval.

A ninth venue, the National Sports Centre in Bermuda, has been awarded tournament warm-up matches and the West Indies Cricket Board will recommend it as a first alternative venue to host games in the event a match needs to be relocated for any reason.

Said ICC president Ehsan Mani: “All the applications to host matches were highly impressive, but the organisation of staging 51 games in the tournament works logistically and practically around a structure of eight main grounds.

“Understandably, this will create some disappointment among those venues not selected, but as we saw at the last ICC World Cup in South Africa, hosting the tournament is not simply about individual venues, but how the countries unite together to stage the event.

“The cricket community is fully supportive of the West Indies and it is confident that the enthusiasm, commitment and energy of the West Indian people will unite with a collective effort to host a most successful tournament in 2007.”

The eight venues were selected and approved by the ICC following a recommendation presented to the ICC Board on July 2 by the Cricket World Cup Organising Committee, which undertook a thorough analysis and assessment of each bid and venue application.

New venues will be built in Antigua and Guyana, while the remaining six venues will undergo upgrades in order to host international matches.