Government gives green light to host international cricketWednesday, April 14, 2021
BY SANJAY MYERS
President Wilford “Billy” Heaven says the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) is committed to adhering to health and safety guidelines after Government recently gave approval for the country to host international matches.
“Last week we received the go-ahead to play international cricket matches, and to have training, though in a limited way,” Heaven told the Jamaica Observer during a telephone interview yesterday.
“I make the point hastily that the JCA will continue to be responsible, and notwithstanding the approval, we will not do anything to compromise the safety of players and that of the nation,” he said.
As part of a busy home schedule, Cricket West Indies (CWI) is expected to host South Africa, Australia and Pakistan this summer. Regardless of the host country it is likely that all matches will be staged behind closed doors to limit the risk of transmitting the novel coronavirus.
The Australian visit is to feature only limited overs cricket, while the South Africans and Pakistanis are to face West Indies in both limited overs and Test matches.
Only weeks ago West Indies hosted Sri Lanka with all matches played in Antigua. The home side won the Twenty20 series 2-1, before sweeping to a 3-0 victory in the One-Day Internationals. The two-Test series ended nil all.
Heaven noted that the Government's green light is a major boost to Jamaica's chances of hosting at least one of those teams in international and warm-up matches between Sabina Park in Kingston and the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium, located along the country's north coast.
“While nothing is yet carved in stone, we are still hoping that with the strength of this approval we'll be able to host matches here. It is good for us from the point of view of bringing entertainment closer to the Jamaican people. And though patrons might not be allowed inside venues there will still be a commercial impact,” the JCA boss said.
Due to guidelines set by the Jamaican Government to reduce exposure to the coronavirus, there has been no cricket tournament in the country since last March.
In preparing for regional 50-over competition, which was staged in Antigua in February, the Jamaica Scorpions were limited to practising in small batches.
Up to yesterday, Jamaica recorded close to 700 deaths from approximately 43,000 positive coronavirus cases. Globally, nearly three million people have died from 137 million cases.
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