ALL roads are expected to lead to Treasure Beach Sports Park in south St Elizabeth for Sunday's staging of the highly touted Twenty20 (T20) cricket festival featuring great former West Indies batsmen Brian Lara and Chris Gayle.
The two are set to captain opposing teams comprising leading former West Indies and Jamaica cricketers in the day's feature match scheduled to start 1:00 pm.
Chief organiser, the former West Indies and Jamaica fast bowler Daren Powell said that outside of Lara, overseas-based players set to feature are Dave Mohammed, Devendra Bishoo, Sulieman Benn, Kirk Edwards and Dwayne Smith.
The Jamaican cast is to comprise Powell, Nehemiah Perry, Delroy Morgan, Wavell Hinds, Andrew Richardson, Nikita Miller and Krishmar Santokie, among others.
The Lara XI versus Gayle XI contest is to be preceded by a 9:00 am clash between all-star teams from St Elizabeth and Manchester.
Powell, who is organising the festival with the support of Treasure Beach community leaders and hoteliers, told the Jamaica Observer recently that fans will be in for a treat.
"We're looking forward to a good day of cricket. It's a nice opportunity for people to come out and bless their eyes on the legend [Lara] again. And, Chris Gayle is very much loved — especially in this part of Jamaica, the love is tremendous. Gayle is a big factor in this and the people are looking forward to both of them showcasing their talent," Powell, who captured 85 Test wickets in 37 matches for the West Indies, said.
"There's no better place for them [Lara and Gayle] to be than where people love cricket. St Elizabeth and cricket are like football in Brazil — people love it," the 44-year-oldadded.
Lara, 53, retired from international cricket in 2007, before the T20 format became dominant globally. However, the Trinidadian is regarded among the sport's finest ever batsmen, scoring 11,953 runs at an average of 52.88 in 131 Tests.
His unbeaten 400 is a Test cricket world record, and his first class best of 501 not out also remains unmatched globally.
Gayle, 43, is regarded one of the best batsmen to have played T20 cricket, dominating bowlers in multiple T20 competitions around the world, most notably the Indian Premier League (IPL). In T20 international cricket he won World Cup titles with West Indies in 2012 and 2016. Gayle scored 7,214 runs at 42.18. The Jamaican has also notched 15 centuries, including a highest score of 333.
— Sanjay Myers