Leewards begin plot for revival
Antigua St. John's - A bold move was launched a few days ago to address the non-existence of Antiguan & Barbudan players representing the West Indies senior and A teams.
Not long ago, there were nine Antiguans & Barbudans representing the West Indies at the international level. Additionally, the Leeward Islands cricket team was dominated by local players playing key roles in the team's successes.
The West Indies recently announced its A team, which for the first time in years will not have an Antiguan & Barbudan in its lineup.
"We must tackle this situation head on," said Sowerby Gomes, an organiser of the upcoming Cool & Smooth Twenty 20. "In about two to three years, we believe that we will be able to make a difference, and once we have the support of the general public, Antiguan & Barbudan players will once again rise to prominence."
"This is not a quick fix,” he insisted, “but a well-thought-out plan of action that should reap benefits for the players and the country as a whole."
The Cool & Smooth Twenty 20 will bowl off at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in less than two weeks.
This tournament will showcase 10 teams - eight from from the Antigua & Barbuda Cricket Association, and two from the Parish League.
PIC Insurance Liberta Sports Club Scotia Bank Empire, Diamond International Police, Medpath New Winthorpes, All Saints Cricket Team, Jennings Cricket Team, Bolans Cricket Club, and Caribbean Union Bank Bethesda Cricket Club were picked from the ACA.
Mahico Cricket Team and Piggotts Sports Club are the two clubs from the Parish League.
Organisers have appointed a team of top personnel, and a host of volunteers, to manage the tournament.
Gomes told Caribarena.com the event will address a number of issues, most importantly youth development.
"We are setting the platform that should allow for the break-though of a number of young players, just as the Stanford 20/20 tournament did a few years ago," Gomes said.
"But its not just about the players in the tournament,” he added. “Proceeds from the competition will be used to harness and improve youth development. We are committed to the development of the sport at the youth level.”
"This is not just about 20/20 cricket," Gomes insisted, “but rather an holistic approach to Antigua & Barbuda's role at the regional and international levels."
Additional sponsors will be unveiled at a press conference Wednesday at the home of the tournament, the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
Over $50,000 will be up for grabs, with the winning team taking in $20,000.
The second place team will receive $10,000, with $5,000 for third.
A total of 27 games will be played, with $500 going to the man of the match in each game, while the tournament's Most Valuable Player will walk away with $1,500.