Local cricket body seeks permission once again for hosting competitive matches

President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA), Leon Rodney. (File photo)
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By Carlena Knight

President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) Leon ‘Kuma’ Rodney has indicated that his body have formally written to Cabinet requesting that permission be given once again for competitive cricket.

Rodney revealed that they have not yet received a response but is quite confident that they will be given the go ahead to host their two-day competition.

“We did write to the Cabinet a few weeks ago, just asking for them to reconsider,” Rodney confirmed.

The ABCA was the first sporting association to receive the nod last year to host competitive cricket following the abrupt halt of all domestic sports in late March due to the covid-19 pandemic.

With that permission, the ABCA hosted both a 10-day, and Super 40 tournament but after the culmination of the Super 40 tournament, Cabinet declared that competitive cricket would no longer be allowed to be played.

Speculation was made that a viral video of persons running onto the field during the finals influenced the government’s decision.

However, Rodney said that unlike the other competitions, the two-day tournament does not attract large gatherings.

“You know, two-day competition may be given the energy that came over from the 10 Splash, and the Super 40 when you get down to the semi-finals and finals you may have a little turnout but I can guarantee that nobody is going to really take two days off to go and watch cricket being played,” he said.

He mentioned that some clarity is needed regarding the protocols governing recreational play as reports surfaced that just last week of a practice session in Sea View Farm being stopped by law enforcement officials who arrived on the scene.

Rodney was adamant that it cannot be allowed that persons are playing recreational football at King George and other parks with large numbers while an organized practice session is being stopped with fewer persons.

“Maybe, just maybe the Minister of Sports, maybe it is the right time to have a dialogue with the sporting associations, because you cannot be saying in the week it is okay to have 92 persons on a field playing football. If you pass any of those in the week, it is in excess of 30 persons playing, so if you saying the maximum congregation is 25 then obviously that can’t be okay,” he shared.

Rodney also called on the other sporting associations to abide by the protocols as well.

The cricketing coach said this issue of not allowing cricket to be played is handicapping the youth players as well, even more so the Under-19s as the World Cup is upcoming and players would want to make the qualifying standard. “We have to do something real fast so that the players can be given that opportunity for preparation, practice sessions and so forth. We definitely can’t do anything haphazardly because we are a national association. I mean, it’s okay if Kuma Rodney as a coach picks up some guys and go and do something; nobody is really paying attention to that, but if you are going to do it from a national standpoint, then we have to make sure we get it done correctly. I mean, how many parents are going to send their children if they know that you are not following the proper protocols and things like that?” he asked.

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