One major benefit the West Indies gain from hosting ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 was the development of the cricket infrastructure around the Caribbean. The tournament came at a time when cricket grounds needed a major upgrade and with cricket possibly at its lowest ebb.
So when Kensington Oval the Mecca of West Indies cricket submitted a successful bid to host the finals of the Cricket World Cup, everyone new what a massive task was at hand. And when in 2005 after 110 years of first class cricket the ground was close, to start what was an extreme make over in time for cricket world cup fans waited with baited breath.
After a year of heavy construction Kensington Oval was reopen on Saturday February 17th 2007 with a spectacle befitting a cricket ground that has played host to many magical cricket moments.
What fans saw of the new Kensington Oval was nothing short of miraculous, rebuilt at the monumental cost of 130 million dollars? The New Kensington Oval stands as a reminder of the commitment of the government and people of Barbados to a sport and a 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 small intimate cricket ground has been the home of some of the most legendary cricketers to walk this earth. Kensington Oval has also been the venue of some of the most magical moments in cricket history.
One only has to visit the ground and take a look at the names prominently displayed on each stand and you will be transported into a place of nostalgia, 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 cricketing powerhouse.
As Kensington Oval began a new innings with the Kensington Forever spectacle, which featured past greats, West Indian fans will hope and pray that the magnificence of this rebuild cricket venue will inspire future players to produce more priceless cricket moments such as those achieved in the past:
Dennis Atkinson and Clairmonte Depeiza 1955 match saving stand of 347 for the seventh wicket against an Australian attack, which include 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.
Lance Gibbs best bowling figures of 8/38 achieved against India in 1962.
Lawrence Rowe 302 in 1974 against England describe by the many fans that saw it as one of the finest innings in cricket history.
Jeff Thomson 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 the Barbadian fans.
Michael Holdings best over ever in 1981 when he tormented Geoff Boycott with the first five balls and then clean bowled him with the last ball of that same over to send the Barbadian crowd into frenzy.
Curtly Ambrose 8 for 45 against England in 1990 that won the match and the series for the West Indies.
And in 1999 Brian Lara serving a three-match probation from the West Indies Cricket Board played one of the most majestic Test match innings ever played. He made 153 not out against the mighty Australians the innings was proclaimed by Wisden as one of the five greatest Test innings of all time.
And perhaps the most prestigious match the ground has ever hosted 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 Sir Garfield Sobers tournament, a hockey tournament and some trial matches for the Barbados cricket team.
As we look to restart international cricket at Kensington Oval in 2008 we look forward to more brilliant performances that will continue the legacy of this great ground. Our only hope is that the new generation of West Indies cricketers live up to the high standards set by the legends of this great game.
Source by Hamilton Barrow