by PHILIP SPOONER
THERE WILL BE no Test cricket in the Caribbean in 2007, the year the region hosts the ninth Cricket World Cup (CWC).
News of this came from the office of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), which yesterday confirmed that the proposed tour of the region by Australia, due after the CWC, had to be postponed.
This means that Barbadians will have to go two consecutive years without seeing a Test match. The schedule for this year does not include a Test in Barbados as Kensington Oval is being redeveloped to host matches in the CWC.
"I guess it would be safe to say there would be no Test matches in the Caribbean next year," said Roger Brathwaite, the WICB's chief executive.
The last time there was no Test season in the Caribbean was 1987, the year the fourth World Cup was played in Asia.
The WICB suspended the Aussie visit next year after discussions with the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Cricket Australia, Brathwaite said from his office in Antigua.
He could not give a timeline as to when the series might be played, but noted that the West Indies were very keen to have the series and fulfil the ICC's future tours programme.
"The tour was originally scheduled for before the World Cup, but after the dates were brought forward for the World Cup, we decided to put the Australian visit until after the World Cup." The World Cup will be played in the West Indies from March 11 to April 28. It will be the first time the West Indies will be hosting the tournament which features 16 teams.
"We (West Indies) are due to visit England for Tests and One-Day matches immediately after the World Cup, so it was impossible to fit in the Australia tour," Brathwaite said. "We are hoping to play four Tests in England that summer."