Bourda taking shape for series opener By Donald Duff
Stabroek News
April 9, 2002

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Test cricket is in the air and there is an atmosphere of excitement as the country's lone test match venue the world famous Bourda sward takes shape for the opening round encounter between `Prince' Saurav Ganguly's Indians and `Sir' Carl Hooper's West Indians.

Bourda is first stop for Ganguly's side whose stated ambition is to emulate Ajit Wadekar's 1971 team's feat of winning a test series against the West Indies.

The two sides India and the West Indies have one thing in common - their record on overseas tours.

India has gone for 16 years without a series win on foreign soil while the West Indies overseas record is even more dismal.

To their credit however, the Windies have only lost two series at home for over a decade.

Yet Ganguly's side feel confident that they can break the jinx and their optimism, coupled with the West Indies latest performance against Pakistan in Sharjah, has prompted the West Indies selectors to arrive at a 13 for the first test that was certainly selected more on current form than anything else.

With so much at stake the venue for the first test takes on added importance as workmen prepare to get the ground and its surroundings in tip top shape ahead of the first salvo.

Smooth sailing

President of the Guyana Cricket Board Chetram Singh said yesterday that everything was in place so far while the remaining work is proceeding smoothly.

Singh added that the outfield was to be cut yesterday and the pitch rolled while there will be a last cut of the outfield tomorrow.

The stands, he added were checked and repainted while there will be adequate police protection in the form of around 150 ranks.

Employees ensuring that the cable and Wireless logo is in place on the sword. (Aubrey Crawford photo)

The area will also be cordoned off to prevent the unsavoury sight of spectators running onto the field of play.

Noting that the weather usually poses a bit of a problem, Singh said he was wary but said an initial forecast foretold that the month would be mostly dry.

Ticket sales

And Guyana Cricket Board official Barbara Oswald said yesterday that ticket sales have been good, picking up a lot this week. Oswald said that no area has been sold out as yet though she warned that the Lance Gibbs stand was fast about to go.

Singh said that there are a lot of overseas visitors in the country adding that all the established hotels have been booked out.

GCC's input

And president of the GCC, Neil Singh, told Stabroek Sport that the Club has done extensive work to three stands Clive Lloyd, Lance Gibbs and the Laparkan stands.

Additionally, Singh said, they have improved the washroom facilities, built a new umpires' room, effected repairs to the two dressing rooms for use by the players and improved the players enclosure.

Neil Singh also revealed that although there is improved drainage from the ground to the canal a pump will be stationed outside the ground permanently.


And head groundsman Kuldip, who along with former Test player Joe Solomon recently benefited from a seminar of groundsmen in Barbados, yesterday said he hoped to present the two teams with a pitch that would assist both bowlers and batsmen and last the full five days.

The Bourda test will be one of matchups with the West Indies batting superstar and double world record holder Brian Lara pitted against India's number one ranked batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar as the main attraction.

Then there will be the Gangul/Hooper, Rahul Dravid/ Shiv Chanderpaul and Javagal Srinath/Mervyn Dillon matchups that will be sure to attract a bumper crowd to GCC.

Chetram Singh said he expected a competitive first test which could help shape the series.

"I think the selectors picked a reasonably good team. I expect the first test to be very competitive as both sides look to see where they have to go for the remainder of the series," he added.

Singh contended that.."the West Indies team have not done badly at home it is abroad where they have a poor record."