Well done, TKR and fingers crossed for Olympics

Well done, TKR and fingers crossed for Olympics

Saturday, September 12, 2020

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Congrats are due to the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) for their historic unbeaten run to the title in the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 which ended Thursday with a comfortable eight-wicket win over plucky St Lucia Zouks.

No doubt Captain Mr Kieron Pollard and his team benefited from being at home in the strange biosecure, spectatorless, environment brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

They certainly would have been better prepared, for the most part, than other teams at the start of the tournament, if only by virtue of strict quarantine restrictions.

However, there could be no doubt that over time the Trinbago Knight Riders looked the best organised and -- alongside the Guyana Amazon Warriors -- the most talented team on show.

The latter -- widely expected to reach the final and test Trinbago Knight Riders to the hilt -- fell down badly at the semi-final stage, losing to the Zouks by 10 wickets.

As was the case last year, the Jamaican franchise, the Tallawahs, looked out of place, though they somehow managed to reach the final four. It seems clear that the owners need to take a long, hard look at how their interests are being managed.

At another level, it was pleasing that, from an organisational point of view, the tournament appears to have been a relative success.

As was always likely to happen the need to confine the tournament to Trinidad at just two grounds, the Queens Park Oval and the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, meant staff were hard-pressed to prepare consistently good pitches. Yet, overall, they may well have earned passing grades.

The tournament showed yet again that once there is the potential for strong television revenues, sport can take place successfully during the pandemic, even without live audiences.

Of course, the safety of all concerned must be of paramount consideration.

Hence the announcement by the governing body for football in North America, Central America and the Caribbean (Concacaf) earlier this week that 2022 World Cup qualifiers, which were due to take place in October and November, will be postponed until 2021 because of COVID-19.

Concacaf said the games would now take place next March and that the decision had been taken in conjunction with world governing body Fifa.

“Many parts of the region continue to have very challenging public health situations, and that has been a key factor in this decision... Additionally, several countries across the confederation have travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, which would make international football involving 30 national teams extremely difficult,” Concacaf said.

Jamaica and its neighbours in the Concacaf region will take heart from the current situation in Europe with not just club football, but international competition having resumed.

Also, we notice positive sounds regarding the postponed 2020 Olympics. We heard recently from International Olympic Committee Vice-President Mr John Coates that the Games would go ahead in 2021 “with or without COVID”.

And Tokyo's Governor Ms Yuriko Koike is reported to have said that the Olympics must be held next year “by all means”.

Like all sports lovers, we keep our fingers crossed.

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