By Neto Baptiste
Antigua has been earmarked to host a scaled down 2021 Regional Super50 Cricket Tournament. This was confirmed by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cricket West Indies (CWI), Johnny Grave who said the decision was made late last week the board of directors.
“The board of directors, last Thursday via teleconference, approved our recommendation for the 021 Super50 cup to be held in Antigua and we are hoping to have meeting later this week with the Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of Health just to understand exactly how we can safely host the tournament here in Antigua,” he said.
“We have already made some amendments to the usual annual event in as much as it would just have the six Cricket West Indies regional franchises participating so there will be no invitation extended as we have done previously to Canada, the USA or the Combined Colleges and Campuses and our Emerging Players team,” he added.
The decision comes amidst heightened anticipation for the return of regional and International cricket to the Caribbean following several International tours by the region’s senior men’s team.
Grave, speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, said the successful hosting of the regional tournament is critical as the body looks towards hosting Sri Lanka next year while it will also provide regional players with an opportunity ti impress regional selectors.
“We’ve got 90 contracted regional players and these regional tournaments are crucial for developing the next generation of players, but also players that are desperate to get into that West Indies team. So, we have got some important one-day series coming up, we’ve got qualifiers for the next World Cup in 2023 and we are hoping to have One Day International immediately after the Super50 against Sri Lanka which would be part of this ICC Super League which would be the qualification league for the next World Cup so it is very important that our 90 regional players get the opportunity to play some regional cricket and try to force their way into the West Indies one day team,” he said.
The CEO ensured that safety of players and management will be high priority ahead and during the staging of the pending Super50.
“We have seen already, news in New Zealand that the Pakistan team has had a couple of cases of Covid and we’ve heard very recently that there are issues in South Africa between the South Africans and England teams playing that series so it is very important that we take the bio-secure measures extremely seriously. There are very difficult circumstances for players and team management to work in but so far we haven’t had any positive cases at all of Covid-19 within our bubbles,” he said.
Six teams, the Leeward Islands, Guyana, Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados and the Windward Islands will compete in the Super50. Last year’s champions, West Indies Emerging Players and Combined Colleges & Campuses will not take part, while previously invited teams like Canada and the USA will miss the 2021 instalment of the competition.