Expect a good cricket wicket – Hylton
The West Indies are set to play their first T20 International match at Sabina Park today against New Zealand, which is eight months since Ireland toured Jamaica in January, and pundits have been questioning the readiness of the facility following a series of non-cricketing events at the venue in recent months.
The Jamaica Premier League made Sabina Park their main venue for the majority of the local football season. There were also several private events, concerts and parties which have taken a toll on the Sabina Park field.
When STAR Sports visited the ground on Tuesday, the West Indies team were in full swing at practice with the match strip covered and surrounded by nets to facilitate the training.
Head curator at Sabina Park, Michael Hylton, was busy with his team putting in the final touches for today's game, and he has assured that the pitch is in pristine condition despite all the activities at the facility.
"We were well prepared and we planned out our approach very carefully. What we did was to leave a lot of grass on and so even though there was a lot of football and things happening, that didn't do too much damage," said Hylton.
Hylton said that the acquisition of some new equipment by the Jamaica Cricket Association also helped in the swift restoration of the ground and both teams can expect a very good cricket wicket.
"The pitch is expected to play very well. It will have something in it for everyone, bowlers, batters as it is expected to play well with even bounce and carry."
In the meantime, West Indies head coach Phil Simmons is hoping that his team can find their footing quickly and rebound from their loss against India.
He is hoping that his team can deliver a winning start against New Zealand and give the local fans more to smile about as the country continues to celebrate 60 years of Independence.
"We keep trying to make sure that the people around the world who we represent are on a high, so that is never out of our purpose and we want to continue to do that. We try to concentrate on the things we have not done right and if we can get the things that we haven't done right, correct, we will be in a position to win more games than we lose."