By Neto Baptiste
A total of seven teams could compete in this year’s senior men’s 50-over tournament put on by the Leeward Islands Cricket Board (LICB).
This is according to Cricket Operations Manager with the sub-region, Vernon Springer, who said the tournament is slated for 17-27 October here in Antigua.
Hosts Antigua and Barbuda are slated to be joined by St. Martin, St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla and Montserrat while there is a possibility a seventh team could be added to the tournament ahead of the start date.
“We have six countries which have confirmed and there is a situation now, based on what is happening, where we could have a seventh country which could be a combined US and British Virgin Island and so they have a window in which they have to register. We have all six countries including Antigua and Barbuda expected to come to the tournament. If there is a seventh country then it means now that we have to be able to change the format in terms of regionally what we had for the under-16 format; so that is what we are looking for over the next couple of weeks,” he said.
Springer said the cost has been one of the major hurdles faced by the LICB in the planning of the tournament.
“The flight cost is really the major problem in terms of us maybe executing that. It necessarily won’t be one sponsor because what we have to do based on what is happening around right now, is to be able to get different sponsors for different areas. So we might get a ball sponsor, hydration sponsor — so we have to break it down in patches and we are speaking to a number of persons to make sure we could be able to cut the cost,” the cricket administrator said.
The Kittian identified some areas for which the LICB has sought the assistance of its corporate partners in an effort to cushion the usual high cost associated with running the tournament.
“Even traveling on the plane from St. Kitts to Antigua, you are taking about $1,200 and if you have to pay for extra baggage for each cricketer then that’s another US $60. We’ve been able to get a hotel sponsor so far who has been great to us — Jolly Beach, Starfish Resort. So that accommodation cost here in Antigua and Barbuda has been cut tremendously, so that’s where we will be putting the teams,” he said.
The Cricket Operations Manager estimates that the tournament costs could amount to as much as $300,000 this year.