Sunday, March 11, 2007

Pitch woes..

A pitch slammed as"unfit" by South Africa capped a week of woe for 2007 World Cup organisers inTrinidad.A string of mishaps has undermined the admirable efforts of World Cupstaff and volunteers, who have worked hard, cheerfully and efficiently to tryand remain in control of situations that were pre-destined to deteriorate.Playin the warm-up match between South Africa and Pakistan at the Frank WorrellMemorial Ground was held up for seven minutes on Friday.
With playerscomplaining about the ball making erratic bounces, South African coach MickeyArthur and his Pakistan counterpart, Bob Woolmer, even came on to the fieldafter 16 overs to discuss the state of the pitch with umpires Peter Parker andIan Gould.Off the field, International Cricket Council (ICC) officials becameengaged in a flurry of telephone calls to try and resolve the issue."Mickey and(South African captain) Graeme (Smith) both consider the pitch unfit for play,"South African media manager Gordon Templeton told reporters."The issue is thesafety of the players," Rushmans media manager Ed Walsh said. "Some balls arecoming through low, while some balls are coming through high."The surfacecalmed down as the sun rose higher and by the afternoon the pitch had beentamed.It was the second time in a week that matches at the ground wereovershadowed by incidents that were beyond the players' control after a fallensightscreen held up play for 77 minutes during Pakistan's contest against Canadaon Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Pakistan, South Africa, Canada and Ireland squadswere evacuated from the Trinidad Hilton in the wake of a gas leak on the eighthfloor of the hotel.DEFAULT LOCATIONPolice told Reuters that at least 14guests and hotel staff were taken to hospital. While no members of the cricketsquads needed any medical attention, a government official went on record to saypolice were investigating a theory that the chaos was caused by a teargascanister that was detonated deliberately.If these problems were not alreadycausing headaches for the organisers, the Trinidad and Tobago police havethreatened to go on strike once the tournament begins in earnest next week inanother looming labour dispute.While many await the arrivals of the Indian, SriLankan, Bangladesh and Bermudan teams for the Group B games at the Queen's ParkOval, it seems fans too have had their fair share of worries to deal with.SomeTrinidad cricket lovers were aghast to discover that World Cup tickets they hadpurchased online had been sent to Antigua in error."When the option to collector have the tickets delivered by courier came up, by some error the tickets werein a drop off box at the default location which is Antigua," the ICC ticketsupervisor for Trinidad, Mark Santana, was quoted as saying in Port-of-Spaindaily Newsday.Santana added that the mistake was in the process of beingrectified.FOOD POISONINGOther spectators have complained about the highprices being charged at match venues, where a bottle of water costs $2.32."It'svery hot, and you could easily end up with heatstroke. In fact, you could die,your life is worth £1.20," spectator Arene Kimkeran, who was born in Trinidadbut lives in London, told Reuters earlier in the week.Two cases of foodpoisoning struck the ranks of the media who had been covering matches in StAugustine.During the match between Ireland and Canada on Thursday, a reporterretched violently and loudly on to the pressbox floor even as a nearby colleagueploughed through a voice report for an Irish radio station.Perhaps theorganisers should have taken note of the omens heralded by the earthquake thatshook Trinidad in February.The quake, which caused no injuries and littledamage, was reported to have measured 4.7 on the Richter scale.

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