Shortly after they’ve polished off Australia in the Ashes this winter, the England cricket team and their supporters will be heading to the West Indies for a blast of six ODIs and Twenty20 matches. Captain Cook and the Barmy Army will be landing in the Caribbean at the end of February 2014 for six one-day games, with three floodlit matches on the beautiful island of Barbados in early March.
Cricket in Barbados
West Indies play many of their matches at the iconic Kensington Oval ground in Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados. Bathed in over 120 years of sporting history, it is widely regarded as the “Mecca” of cricket in the Caribbean.
The ground is famous for its calypso atmosphere, with lively crowds who sing, dance, chant and roar the Windies to victory. When the Windies are winning, the stands erupt into one giant party. When they’re losing, it’s not that much different.
Although redeveloped and expanded for the 2007 World Cup, the new stands have made it a world-class stadium while retaining its carnival spirit. Fans who have only ever seen cricket in England will also be pleasantly surprised that unlike at the corporate English grounds, stewards at the Kensington Oval seem rather more relaxed about people having a good time.
Places to stay for cricket fans
Barbados is many English cricket fans’ favourite island in the West Indies. One of the reasons is the local rum, which can be bought for as little as £3 a bottle, and is also available at a reasonable price inside the Oval.
If you’re bringing the family along, then the all-inclusive Bougainvillea Beach and Turtle Beach resorts are located on the south side of the island, which is a lot more vibrant and popular with the locals than the redeveloped west side (or ‘Platinum Coast’), which has been taken over by British and American celebrities. These two hotels on the south beach have plenty of amenities and entertainment for everyone, from snorkeling to beach cricket. Set on a tropical stretch of coast that looks as good as Chris Gayle in full flow, they are just a coastal bus ride from Bridgetown and the Kensington Oval.
For a budget stay in Barbados, the Butterfly Beach hotel is a 3-star hotel on the south beach, with prices this winter starting from £695 per person, bed and breakfast.
England play their three Twenty20 matches against the West Indies in Barbados on the 9th, 11th and 13th March 2014.