By Neto Baptiste
A recent Cabinet decision has paved the way for the return of competitive cricket here, making it the first discipline since a nationwide lockdown on competitive sports in March this year, to be granted permission to host matches and or tournaments.
Minister of Sports Daryll Matthew said the Cabinet was swayed following meetings with both the national cricket association and the sports regional governing body, Cricket West Indies (CWI) that there could be a safe return to competition.
“Cricket is to present to the Cabinet, through support from Cricket West Indies, a full outline as to what the protocols for reopening are going to be fully supported by Cricket West Indies and I have also been in communication with the other national federations, asking them to prepare proposals that are supported by their governing bodies that will recommend home competitive sports can be replayed,” he said.
Matthew went on to add that at some point efforts must be made for a return to some form of normalcy as we continue to combat the coronavirus.
“A lot of it has to do with a few things and that is in terms of where we are in terms of our ability to manage the Covid crisis that the world continues to face and also, how long is this expected to be protracted. As the Prime Minister [Gaston Browne] said some time back, there will come a day when we will have to learn to live with Covid, and so locking down indefinitely is not a sustainable position to take. So, I think I had gone through great length from time to time to explain to the public and to the sporting fraternity that yes, we are frustrated, we want to compete and we want to do a lot of things but it’s all a process,” he said.
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) and a CWI Director, Leon Rodney, said the organisation is already in the planning mode and is targeting December for its first tournament.
“We have been speaking with Cricket West Indies already in hope we could have a leg, if not the whole pie, for the CWI Super 50, so it’s great news. I will be meeting with the cricket committee because we have some stuff in mind and hopefully we can get a tournament in December. Once we meet with the cricket committee, then we meet with the clubs and put forward what we want to do in December and hope we can get it going,” the cricket boss said.
Last week, Rodney revealed that the country has lost an estimated US $1 million in revenue due to the postponing and or cancellation of several tours and competitions that were scheduled to be held in Antigua.
Expectations are that Antigua will bid to host a leg of the CWI Super 50 earmarked for January next year.