Full capacity for Test opener vs England
ST JOHN'S, Antigua (CMC):
ENGLAND were scheduled to arrive late yesterday to begin final preparations for their three-Test series against West Indies.
The tourists, who will be led by batting star Joe Root, will take on a Cricket West Indies President's XI in a four-day game at Coolidge Cricket Ground starting next Tuesday, in their only competitive game before the first Test bowls off March 8.
The Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium will play host to the opener before the series moves to Kensington Oval in Bridgetown for the second Test from March 16-20.
CWI operations manager, Roland Holder, said preparations for the series were at an advanced stage and expected organisers to be ready in time for the opening Test.
"You're hearing the ads on the radio and there are a lot of giveaways (and) the ground staff are busy at work," Holder said.
"There's quite a bit of interest both in the President's XI match and the Test match so it (preparation) is beginning to get there.
"It's still a little bit early ... we're still two weeks away roughly from the first Test and we anticipate ... the atmosphere becoming more and more charged in the build-up to the Richards-Botham Trophy."
Speaking on Starcom Radio's Mason and Guests in Barbados, Holder said the Antigua and Barbuda government had also not capped numbers for the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium, allowing for a possible full house for the opener.
West Indies were forced to play behind closed doors at same venue last March when Sri Lanka toured the Caribbean for two Tests at the venue, in what was the first Test series to be staged in the region since the start of the pandemic.
Grenada, which hosted the five-match T20 International series between West Indies and South Africa last year where only fully vaccinated fans were allowed in, are also not expected to place a cap on numbers.
Barbados health authorities, meanwhile, have indicated a cap of 80 per cent capacity of the stadium there, after allowing 50 per cent for last month's five-match T20 series against England.
Only fully vaccinated fans will be allowed to purchase tickets for the series.