By Neto Baptiste
The Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) has petitioned the government and its health authorities to allow a domestic competition in December.
This was revealed by president of the association, Leon Rodney, who was tightlipped about the nature of the proposed competition, but assured details would be released once permission is granted by the proper authorities.
“I can’t tell you what it is as yet until they reply and then Kenny Lewis and his committee will confirm as to whether or not we can get it done, and if we get it done, then we should have something in December that would roll us over to next year. We have to do what we are doing very fast because we would have to notify the clubs and we want the clubs to be notified early,” he said.
Last December, the ABCA introduced its 10 Splash competition, becoming the first association to host competition since March 2020 following a nationwide lockdown on competitions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite his enthusiasm over the possibilities of hosting a tournament next month, Rodney was not so optimistic regarding a full-scale return to action for a number of reasons, with one being a packed calendar of International cricket in the early stages of 2022.
“There is no secret now that England will come, I think, from 8 March to the 12 of March so basically you may find that England may come into Antigua in late February, because if the Test match starts on the 8th and the four-day game would be before that, so my guess is that they would probably arrive here late February. If anything else will happen before that then we would have to take all of that into consideration as to when the tournament will start. We are hoping to have a little dialogue with the clubs pretty soon too,” the cricket boss said.
Coupled with that, Rodney said the association would still need to ascertain the vaccination numbers amongst potential players before any real plans can be made for a full-scale return to competition.
“We are always planning because obviously we believe that the country should open up, and we also have to take into consideration the rules of the government, and the rule is still that everybody should be vaccinated. I know that the clubs are making a tremendous effort and they have stepped up quite a bit in terms of people being vaccinated and you can’t force anybody to be vaccinated,” he said.
Indications are that government will lift all Covid-19 restrictions, including the ongoing State of Emergency in early 2022 which could see a full-scale return to competition.