Heaven looks at alternative competition as regional four-day tourney thrown in doubtSunday, April 18, 2021
BY SANJAY MYERS
With the regional four-day tournament unlikely to be staged this season, Cricket West Indies (CWI) board member Wilford “Billy” Heaven says plans are afoot to organise matches within each territory so that selectors can assess players ahead of proposed Test series against South Africa and Pakistan.
“It is highly unlikely that we will have the four-day competition in the usual way. What we are contemplating at the moment is to have intra-territorial cricket among the best players from each territory,” Heaven, the president of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), said during a telephone interview.
“So Jamaica, for example, will organise within its borders a competition in which two teams will be established and they will play each other. The other five territorial boards will do likewise,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
It is expected that regional selectors will have a keen eye on all matches against the backdrop of a busy home schedule for the regional side.
The South Africans are to visit the Caribbean in June, followed by Pakistan later in the summer. In between those series, West Indies are also set to welcome Australia, but that tour is expected to be limited to white-ball cricket.
The regional four-day season normally runs from late in the year up to approximately the first quarter of the new calendar year. But due to logistical challenges and safety concerns brought on by the novel coronavirus the competition's start has been clouded in uncertainty.
CWI staged a shortened version of the Super50 Cup in Antigua in February. Sri Lanka's tour of the Caribbean, which included Twenty20 (T20), One-Day International (ODI) and Test matches — all held in Antigua — followed soon after.
West Indies won the T20 and ODI contests 2-1 and 3-0, respectively, but had to settle for a nil-all result in the two-Test series.
Heaven noted that the proposed intra-squad matches would offer valuable preparation for players.
“The way forward is still under discussion, but we would use it to keep our players fit and to get them in competition mode even if limited in scale and scope. The four-day tournament was already truncated last season because of the virus. So having these matches is very important at this time when we are participating in international cricket,” the JCA boss said.
Last season's four-day competition was brought to an end after the eighth round — short of the scheduled 10 rounds — due to the outbreak of coronavirus in the region. Barbados Pride, who were runaway leaders at the time of the curtailment, were declared the winners.
Trinidad & Tobago Red Force were second, while Guyana Jaguars and Jamaica Scorpions ended joint third. Windward Islands Volcanoes and Leeward Islands Hurricanes finished fifth and last, respectively.
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