England delighted with St Lucia base

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England have warmly welcomed the news that they will be based in St Lucia for the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean.

The announcement on venues was made at an Award of Matches ceremony at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and means England will play all their group games at the Beausejour Stadium.

England coach Duncan Fletcher said: “This is very good news. The cricket facilities in St Lucia were the best we encountered on our recent tour of the West Indies.

"Taking other factors into account as well, the team management were all of the view that this would be the best possible base for the England team in the World Cup.”

ECB's director of cricket operations John Carr added: "After the recent tour of the West Indies, the team management reported very positively on the cricket facilities in St Lucia and we therefore welcome the news that the team will play their group games at Beausejour Stadium."

Barbados will stage the final, while hosts West Indies will be based in Jamaica where the opening ceremony and opening game will take place. St Lucia and Jamaica will stage the semi-finals.

England, Australia, India and West Indies were kept apart in the group stages due to the logistical problems of large groups of fans transferring between venues.

Defending champions Australia will be based in St Kitts & Nevis while Trinidad & Tobago will play host to India.

England’s only previous experience of the Beausejour Stadium came during the tour of the Caribbean earlier this year when they played two one-day internationals there for the first time.

The top two teams from each group go forward to the Super Eight phase, with games to be played in Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Barbuda, Grenada and Guyana.

International Cricket Council president Ehsan Mani said: "We can't please everyone with this announcement but we hope that all the countries will work together to produce the best ever World Cup."

The award of match packages is as follows:

Barbados: Final, three of the largest Super Eight matches and three other Super Eight matches

Jamaica: Opening ceremony and opening game, one semi-final, six first-round matches (West Indies team)

St Lucia: One semi-final and six first-round matches (England team)

Antigua and Barbuda: Three of the largest Super Eight matches and three other Super Eight matches

Grenada: Six Super Eight matches

Guyana: Six Super Eight matches

Trinidad & Tobago: Six first-round matches (India team)

St Kitts & Nevis: Six first-round matches (Australia team)

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