By Neto Baptiste
A number of factors contributed to a recent decision by the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) to “close” all competitive cricket for the remainder of the year.
Chief amongst them, according to president of the association Leon “Kuma” Rodney, is the requirement that all competing athletes to be vaccinated and PCR testing for players under 18 years old.
“We have supported vaccination and we’re not going to take that back; however, we are not going to be, in any way, forcing people to take the vaccine. We agreed that all the persons [officials] taking part in the under-17 would have to be vaccinated and as for the players, they would have to do a PCR test, but we are still a little confused that you would want to test these guys. They go to school on a regular basis and you don’t test them when they go to school, but to play some matches you want to test them,” he said.
“At the end of the day, we were going to go through with it because we had no problem but you’re saying that you’d just do one PCR test. So, you test them today and they come and play this weekend and when they are finished they go about their merry way and come back again next week to play another match. We really can’t see the rationale with that,” he added.
In terms of logistics, Rodney remains confident that the association would have been able to properly plan and execute its tournaments, including the Sir Richie Richardson Under-17 Tournament that was slated to start in August.
“We have the coaches in place and we know the players that could take part and obviously you must have some preparation time before you just start playing these matches. So, that tournament would run close to a month or if not over a month because with four teams and everybody playing everybody twice and we had identified that we would only ply those games on the weekend,” he said.
Rodney said that hardest hit would be the 10 Splash tournament that was scheduled for later this year given the level of outside interest.
“It’s difficult because at the end of the day, and especially since we did the 10 Splash for the first time last year and it shaped up very well. I also said to you before that we had some outside interest via broadcasting so we have to be able to deal with reality and that reality is that it is a lot of work to put all this stuff together and especially if we want to make the 10 splash a much better tournament and obviously also, rules have been in place that to have competition that everybody has to be vaccinated,” the cricket boss said.
Recently, the Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association (ABBA) announced that competitive play could return later this year.