Cricket: World Cup chiefs put gloss on delays

PORT OF SPAIN, Feb 10, 2007 (AFP) – World Cup organisers on Saturday shrugged off increasing worries over stadium delays and rocketing hotel prices despite cricket’s global showpiece getting underway in four weeks’ time. Trinidad’s famous Queen’s Park Oval is still not finished, practice pitches in Jamaica have yet to be completed while a hotel in Guyana, which is due to host many VIPs during the March 10-April 28 event, is also still being built.

Officials too have had to counter growing accusations over profiteering by hotels where some prices have been hiked up to twice, sometimes, three times the normal rate.

Of particular concern is the state of the 20,000-capacity Queen’s Park Oval here on the island home of Windies skipper Brian Lara, which will host Group B matches in the first stage where India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bermuda will play.

International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup venue development director Don Lockerbie said this week work still needed to be done to two stands – the member’s pavilion and the Trini Posse stand, famous for its vibrant fans and its ceaseless stream of music during play.

“With about a month to go the Queen’s Park Oval has the most work to do of any of the oth