By Neto Baptiste
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has severely crippled the Leeward Islands Hurricane’s ability to prepare as a unit in anticipation that regional cricket could resume later this year.
This is according to President of the Leeward Islands Cricket Board (LICB), Enoch Lewis, who said that the unavailability of flights from some territories owing to the continued closure of borders coupled with the cost associated with hosting all players in a single base, have made it difficult to prepare as normal.
“Firstly, we need to get a handle of this Covid thing really because it is having a devastating effect on us really. We can’t assemble a team because as you know we are eight islands and nobody can just drive over to St. Kitts and even if one border may be open, then the next is not open, so we have a challenge to get past that,” he said.
Reports are indicating that players have been preparing in their individual territories with hopes there could be camped at the team’s St. Kitts base later this year.
A number of players are said to be training with the team’s assistant coach, Wilden Cornwall, here in Antigua, while others are said to be training with head coach, Stuart Williams, in St. Kitts.
Lewis, who was unanimously returned to office during LICB’s electoral congress last week, said the body has looked at possible solutions to the issue.
“While you could try and move a player, there is still uncertainty as to what period he will face and whether or not he would be let into the country directly, or he would have to go in isolation, and for how long, and at what cost, so it’s still up in the air. It’s so fluid right now that we can’t even make any firm decisions. Going to St. Kitts now, the quote I am hearing is about US$500 just to get in, and we have 15 players and officials and that’s a lot of money for us so those are considerations for us really,” he said.
The Antiguan added that his board will be looking at ways they could improve a number of key areas, which includes increasing the body’s revenue base, as they hope to better manage the board’s affairs.
“That would help us to grow the cricket. We are also trying to put on a two or three-day tournament, and that is our real focus in terms of trying to get that done and obviously we are trying to win tournaments too at all levels, not only compete in CWI tournaments, but to actually win some of those tournaments and obviously, continue to produce players for West Indies teams,” Lewis said.
A date is yet to be finalised for the start of the Regional Super50 which usually commences in the latter stages of the year.