Antigua and Barbuda minister of sport, Daryll Matthew, insists the country’s preparations to host matches for the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup remains on track, despite concerns being raised in recent weeks.

The matches for the tournament will be played in Antigua, Guyana, Saint Kitts, and Trinidad.  Antigua has been earmarked to host the Super League quarter-finals, semi-finals the finals, in addition to the 3rd, 5th, and 7th place playoffs.

The main venues that will be used are the Coolidge Cricket Ground and the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium but there have been questions asked about the state of some of the practice grounds with the tournament set to bowl off on January 14.

 Two of the venues of concern are the Liberta Sports Club and the Police Recreation Ground.  At Liberta, issues were recently brought to the fore regarding the reconstruction of a section of the facility’s fencing and work for the bathrooms.

Matthew insists there is no need to worry, however, as the government fully intends to honour its commitment.

“I just want to assure the public of Antigua and Barbuda that all of the venues will be ready. We’re almost there in terms of our readiness to host what is probably the largest international cricket event on our shores and the nation will be proud,” Matthew told the Antigua Observer.

“The major area of work that needs to be done [in Liberta] is one part of the fencing and so you can be assured that those things will be completed because it is part of our hosting requirement and so we do not have the option to not do it,” he added. 

The ICC Under-19 World Cup will take place between 14 January – 5 February.

“We’re actually hosting the quarterfinals, semifinals, and the finals for the Under-19 World Cup, and immediately following that we will be hosting the Test series with England, the Richards-Botham series and so we will be hosting a four-day warm-up match and then go right into the first Test so for the next eight to 10 weeks we should be having a substantial amount of cricket here in Antigua and Barbuda.”

Left-arm spinner Jaden Carmichael claimed figures of 3 for 25 as the West Indies U-19s coasted to a comfortable 8-wicket win to level the series against South Africa U-19s on Tuesday.

Sent to bat first, the South Africans found very little answers at the crease as they were dismissed for just 103 off 31.3 overs.  In response, the West Indies eased to 104-2 off 24.2 overs, to level the four-match series at 1-1.  The South Africans had claimed the opening match of the series by 18 runs.

Carmichael had solid support from fellow left-arm spinner Anderson Mahase (2-34) and pace bowlers McKenny Clarke (2-12) and Johan Layne (2-14).  During the West Indies' time at the crease, it was opener Matthew Nandu who anchored a routine run chase.

The left-hander struck a patient unbeaten 42 from 75 balls and added 58 for the second wicket with Teddy Bishop (25).  He was then part of a 42-run unbeaten stand for the third wicket with captain Ackeem Auguste who made 28 not out.

For South Africa, it was Michael Copeland who top-scored with 24 from 52 balls, but he was one of only two top-order batsmen to reach double figures and the only one to pass 20 for South Africa.

 

Bowler Isai Thorne claimed a three-for on debut, while Andel Gordon and McKenny Clarke took two each but the Windies U-19s found few answers to their English counterparts in a 166 runs loss in the first match of the Rising Stars U19 ODI tour of England.

After winning the toss and choosing to field, England posted 289-9 in their allotted 50 overs. The total was built around half-centuries by captain Jacob Bethell (69), James Rew (59) and wicket-keeper Alex Horton (53).

Bethell and Rew added 87 for the third wicket before the partnership was broken by the 16-year-old Thomas, who bowled with good pace throughout his 10-over spell. He later returned to get the wicket of Horton, who played a late cameo which included four fours and a six, as England scored 85 runs in the last 10 overs.

In reply, the West Indies total of 123 had its main contributions from openers Anderson Amurdan (33) and Matthew Nandu (21) who gave the West Indies a 46 run opening stand in the initial 10 over power play. Amurdan faced 47 balls and hit five boundaries, while left-hander Nandu faced 28 balls and hit two fours. But led by a five-wicket haul from off-spinner Tom Prest (6-2-18-5), who was well supported by the leg-spin of Rehan Ahmed (3-22) and left-arm orthodox Fateh Singh (1-28), they combined effectively to bowl out the visitors in the 30th over.

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