Beause­jour cricket sta­dium re­named Dar­ren Sammy Cricket Sta­dium

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

The Saint Lu­cia gov­ern­ment has re­named the is­land’s main venue for in­ter­na­tional cricket matches, Beause­jour Sta­dium, in hon­our of Dar­ren Sammy who cap­tained the vic­to­ri­ous West In­dies ICC T20 World Cup team. The fa­cil­ity in the north of the is­land, is now the Dar­ren Sammy Na­tional Cricket Ground. It has a seat­ing ca­pac­ity of 15,000 and was the first ground in the West In­dies to stage a flood­light One-Day In­ter­na­tional.

The an­nounce­ment came af­ter Sammy and John­son Charles re­turned home from In­dia on Tues­day.

A pav­il­ion at the cricket ground, which has hosted in­ter­na­tional matches since 2002, will also be re­named in hon­our of Sammy’s team-mate and fel­low Saint Lu­cian John­son Charles.

In ad­di­tion to lead­ing the team to vic­tory in the fi­nals match against Eng­land on Sun­day, Sammy headed the squad when the West In­dies won their first T20 ti­tle in 2012, beat­ing Sri Lanka.

Sammy and John­son re­ceived a hero’s wel­come when they touched down at the He­wanorra In­ter­na­tional Air­port on Tues­day af­ter­noon.

“I am truly hon­oured, I am hum­bled and blessed,” Sammy said. “Thank you, we al­ways know Saint Lu­cians love their own . . .”

Af­ter greet­ing fans who had gath­ered in and around the air­port, the West In­dies play­ers took part in a mo­tor­cade be­fore head­ing to a re­cep­tion at the Derek Wal­cott Square in the cap­i­tal, Castries.

Be­fore that they paid a cour­tesy call on the is­land’s gover­nor gen­eral Dame Pear­lette Louisy.

Af­ter the West In­dies vic­tory on Sun­day, Sammy had been very crit­i­cal of the West In­dies Cricket Board (WICB) for its fail­ure to sup­port the crick­eters.

At the wel­come re­cep­tion in Ja­maica for Mar­lon Sa­muels and Jerome Tay­lor, the coun­try’s Sports Min­is­ter Olivia Grange urged the WICB and play­ers to find a com­mon ground in or­der to re­turn the West In­dies to the pin­na­cle of world cricket.

“Like good par­ents, the WICB must re­po­si­tion it­self in such a way that its play­ers see the gov­ern­ing body as its chief guardian rather than its Achilles heel,” she said. “The play­ers, too, must also be cog­nizant that not re­ceiv­ing best wishes prior to an exam doesn’t mean your par­ents are un­car­ing or want you to fail.”

The min­is­ter said that to pre­vent the seem­ingly per­pet­ual dis­putes, the WICB and play­ers must ad­dress the is­sues and nec­es­sary mea­sures put in place to re­solve them.

It was a wel­come re­cep­tion truly be­fit­ting na­tional he­roes when Dar­ren Sammy, cap­tain of the West In­dies T20 team, and team-mate John­son Charles ar­rived at the He­wan­norra In­ter­na­tional Air­port on Tues­day af­ter­noon. This, af­ter the two Saint Lu­cians had made West In­di­ans the world over proud by de­feat­ing Eng­land on Sun­day April 3, 2016 to re­gain the ICC T20 tro­phy in the fi­nal of the world cup.

The pair were greeted on the tar­mac as they dis­em­barked their BA flight by prime min­is­ter Kenny An­thony and other min­is­ters as well as Dig­i­cel’s Coun­try Man­ager Siob­han James-Alexan­der.

They were then wel­comed at the VIP lounge by other

Mean­time, in con­grat­u­lat­ing Sa­muels – who copped the Man of the Match mem­bers of Cab­i­net, the leader of the op­po­si­tion, sports of­fi­cials and fam­ily mem­bers. Dur­ing a short re­cep­tion the prime min­is­ter an­nounced the re­nam­ing of the cricket sta­dium the Dar­ren Sammy Sta­dium and one of the stands to be named af­ter John­son Charles. Charles will also be re­warded with a par­cel of land by the gov­ern­ment.

As Charles and Sammy made their way out of the VIP lounge they were greeted by thou­sands of fans who had flocked to the air­port to wel­come them home. Some bore plac­ards, some cricket T-shirts, while oth­ers adorned their na­tional colours and beamed with pride as they mobbed the two cricket he­roes award in the fi­nals but also lost 30 per­cent of his match fee for breach­ing Ar­ti­cle 2.1.4 of the ICC Code of Con­duct for Play­ers and Player Sup­port Per­son­nel, which re­lates to us­ing lan­guage or a ges­ture that is ob­scene, of­fen­sive or in­sult­ing dur­ing an in­ter­na­tional match – Grange said: “Mar­lon, you are a world class crick­eter and proven match win­ner . . . Con­tinue to speak with your bat, my son, and say noth­ing else.”

She also ac­knowl­edged Tay­lor’s con­tri­bu­tion.

“You might have played only one game in this tour­na­ment but as a vet­eran cam­paigner your guid­ance and sup­port to the younger bowlers was cru­cial,” she said.

Min­is­ter Grange said she hopes the World T20 cham­pi­onship win was the start of a West In­dies re­nais­sance. for photo ops and au­to­graphs.

This was fol­lowed by a mas­sive mo­tor­cade which saw the streets from Vieux Fort to Castries aligned with sup­port­ers hop­ing for a glimpse of the two sons of the soil. On sev­eral oc­ca­sions Sammy and Charles stopped to greet fans, mak­ing this one of the long­est jour­neys from Vieux Fort to Castries.

Dar­ren Sammy and John­son Charles also paid a cour­tesy call on gover­nor gen­eral Dame Pear­lette Louisy be­fore head­ing to the Derek Wal­cott Square for a mas­sive rally. Speeches aside, the ac­tiv­ity fea­tured per­for­mances by TJ and Arthur among oth­ers as well as Sammy, Charles and fans do­ing the now fa­mous Champions dance.

No more Beause­jour; its now the Dar­ren Sammy Na­tional Cricket Ground.

Dar­ren Sammy and John­son Charles greet fans on Tues­day dur­ing mo­tor­cade.

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