Contemplating the regional Super50


Contemplating the regional Super50

Saturday, November 30, 2019

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For decades, annual regional tournaments such as the Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 now in its final stages in Trinidad and Tobago have been crucial for cricket development and for selection of West Indies teams.

Prior to the 1960s, the situation was very different with tournaments taking place largely as a result of ad hoc arrangements between individual territories then colonies of Britain.

Indeed, prior to World War II (1939-45), several years would pass before Jamaica to the north in the Caribbean Sea had competitive contact with its cricket-playing neighbours to the south and east.

Inevitably, in such situations, selection of West Indies teams often proved difficult and contentious.

The annual Shell Shield four-day competition, which came into being in the 1960s, and several other regional competitions in long and short formats which followed, have made life much easier for all concerned.

In recent years, much-criticised administrators of West Indies cricket have done well, we think, in finding ways to sustain tournaments even with money and sponsorship in very short supply.

As expected, the current Super50 tournament has brought to the fore a number of talented young players, and reaffirmed the claims of several more established all with thoughts of a place in the West Indies team as well as the possibility of gaining lucrative T20 contracts.

From a purely Jamaican perspective, there was disappointment that the Jamaica Scorpions failed to make the semi-final round of the 2019 Super50.

As Coach Mr Andre Coley and his assistant Mr Nikita Miller have pointed out, the batsmen did well on pitches in St Kitts that were mostly good for batting. They faltered badly with their fielding dropping too many catches and inefficient bowling.

Curiously, the West Indies Emerging Players squad, made up of young players who failed to make their national squads, have reached the final of the competition scheduled for tomorrow.

This, after they defeated Barbados Pride on Thursday.

At the time this commentary was being written, the emerging players were awaiting the result of the second semi-final between hosts Trinidad and Tobago Red Force and the Leeward Islands Hurricanes, to know their opponents come tomorrow.

As was the case last season when the Combined Campuses and Colleges won the Super50 competition, the success of the emerging players underlined the competitiveness of the tournament.

It's worthwhile to also note the steady improvement of guest teams USA and Canada, largely made up of immigrants from Asia and the Caribbean.

A less than pleasing aspect of this season's Super50 has been the tediously low and slow pitches in Trinidad, which have made run-scoring difficult. That may well have to do with the weather. October/November is among Trinidad's wettest periods, which would have made life difficult for those tasked with preparing pitches.

That meant that teams moving from more batting-friendly conditions in St Kitts may well have found themselves at a disadvantage on moving to Trinidad for the final four games.

From what we have been able to observe on TV and streaming, attendance has also been poor.

Those are aspects for the special attention of administrators, organisers, and sponsors, going forward.

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