St. John’s Antigua- A total of EC $50,000 will be up for grabs in the inaugural Cool & Smooth sponsored, Antigua & Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) hosted Twenty20 Cricket Tournament slated to commence on June 12.
ABCA President Zorol Barthley said the landmark tournament would be the most lucrative national competition in recent years with 10 teams competing for not only the grand monetary prize but also the prestige of being crowned the first winners of the Antigua & Barbuda Twenty20 tournament.
“That is going to be broken down where the winners are going to receive $20,000, second place $10,000 and third place $5,000. There will be a total of 27 games and we will have $500 per game for the man of the match award and the MVP of the entire tournament will receive $1,500,” Barthley said.
“As far as prize monies go for local tournaments, local sporting events, this is probably the richest prize ever awarded and so in that regard I am very pleased about that. We are very excited about it, and at the end of the day we are hoping to raise the standard of our local cricket.”
Barthley, a former national cricketer, revealed that as of next year, ABCA will move to include regional players as they hope to have the local tournament serve as both a precursor to the newly introduced Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and also as an avenue through which local players can develop while earning selection for the WICB tournament.
“We expect that by next year regional players, especially inter-regional players, will want to be part of this event. It is not an event that it going to stand still, it is an event that is going to grow, and with all involved, the ultimate objective of the tournament is the rebranding, the redevelopment, the re-energising of what we are going to term Cricket Antigua/Barbuda,” he said.
“We say that from the standpoint that at the moment we have no players in the senior West Indies team. The West Indies A Team was announced yesterday and there are no Antiguans in that A Team and therefore, in conjunction with Cool & Smooth, we have agreed that all revenue or all residual income or any profits made from this event is going to go directly back into the development of cricket in Antigua & Barbuda.”
The sponsor’s representative, Sowerby Gomes, said Cool & Smooth, a company synonymous with sponsoring a number of sporting events and organisations, is pleased to be involved in what they consider a vehicle through which young local players will be given an opportunity to grow their talents.
“Cool & Smooth has joined with the Antigua & Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) to put on what would be considered one of the most electrifying tournaments ever to be held in Antigua. It is going to be different. We have seen Twenty20 being played. We have seen the IPL and we have seen all the different Twenty20s around the world. But what is going to be unique about this is that it is an Antiguan grown sport where we are going to be highlighting our young Antiguan players,” Gomes said.
“It’s a platform whereby we will create an avenue for our young players to take their game to the next level and I think that is the main thrust behind this Twenty20 – that Cool & Smooth along with the Antigua & Barbuda Cricket Association is here to push our young players to the next level,” the former footballer added.
Eight teams from the ABCA tournaments including PIC Liberta, Diamonds International Police, Bolans, All Saints, Jennings, Scotiabank Empire, Medpath New Winthorpes and Caribbean Union Bank Bethesda will compete for the top prize.
They will be joined by Mahico and Pigotts from the Parish League as they do battle for the grand prize of $20,000.. The tournament will run from June 12 to 27 with all matches being played at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds.
Liberta will tackle Police on the opening day of the tournament in a match starting at 4 pm, while Bolans and All Saints will clash in the feature match slated to bowl off at 7:10 pm.