By Neto Baptiste
The Empire Cricket Club will not support any proposal calling for a reduction in the number of teams allowed to contest the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association’s Two Day Competition.
This is according to president and coach, Ian Tittle, who labelled the proposal a backward step and fears it could lead to lower participation from young players.
“Maybe what the association needs to do is put some form of incentive in there, because most of the times when cricket is finished, it just stays like that with nothing else to do and just winning a title alone is not going to do anything,” he said.
“The association also needs to have their programme too, so when the season is done you’d maybe have the best of your best players and you continue to play cricket just like in football where it happens 12 months in the year. Football is played straight [nonstop],” he added.
President and coach of the Liberta Sports Club and former West Indies fast bowler, Kenneth Benjamin, posited some weeks ago that the Two Day competition should be reduced from 10 to six teams. He further suggested that the six competing teams would then be allowed to have second string teams that will compete in a development league with the option of moving players to and from the Two Day Competition.
But Tittle said Empire is not willing to join forces with any other team and believes that by simply rearranging the order in which the competitions are played could make a difference.
“I hear people saying to join two teams together, but which one of the teams will want to join a next team? That is a next problem you are going to have here because it is the same thing that Mr Miller from Jennings was saying. Maybe another thing the association could do is instead of starting with the one day competition [Super 40], start with the Two Day Competition because the way they have it now much people are not playing the Two Day,” the former player said.
President of the Jennings Cricket Club, Glen Miller, had also criticised the suggestion, stating that such a move would result in a decline in participation, especially amongst the youths.
Head of the cricket association, Leon Rodney, however said the body will be looking at ways in which to improve the standard of play in the Two Day Competition and that all suggestions would be taken into consideration.
The PIC Liberta Blackhawks won all three competitions this year, starting with the ABCA Super 40, the Cool & Smooth T20 Explosion, and then the ABCA Two Day Competition.