By Neto Baptiste
A new franchise-based semi-professional cricket tournament could soon come to Antigua and Barbuda.
This is according to Minister of Sports, Daryll Matthew, who said the government will partner with Cricket West Indies (CWI) and other private entities to launch the tournament later this year which will host only local franchises and present opportunities to local players.
“The Cabinet reiterated and reinforced … and a decision that we took in October of last year where we have asked Cricket West Indies — in fact, we have mandated Cricket West Indies — to work along with the government and the local cricket association to establish a semi-professional cricket league here in Antigua and Barbuda. A cricket league that will feature a franchise type system where the government and private sector entities will support these franchises here in Antigua and Barbuda,” he said.
The minister, who was making his presentation on the 2022 budget at the time, said CWI president Ricky Skerrit and CEO Johnny Grave were recently invited to Cabinet to discuss the proposal.
Matthew said the aim is to provide opportunities for young budding talent in cricket.
“It’s not that you’re going out to bat some balls and then go home to eat Corn Curls; you see a career opportunity where cricket is concerned and the president himself has given the commitment and the CEO has indicated that by Easter of this year we will have a full formal proposal before the Cabinet for its consideration,” he said.
According to Matthew, the league will, at first, target homegrown talent before extending invitations to regional and or international teams.