ST JOHN’S, Antigua -- President of the West Indies Cricket Board Whycliffe ‘Dave’ Cameron on Wednesday explained that the WICB has taken a decision of seeking to ensure that tournaments that are commercially viable are staged in a manner which will allow for sponsorship partnerships while maintaining the wide distribution of developmental tournaments.
The WICB recently announced that the Regional Super50 Tournament will be hosted in Trinidad and Tobago from 2014 to 2016 and that the government of Trinidad and Tobago through the Ministry of Tourism has committed to playing a major role in the execution of the tournament.
“The Regional Super50 is perhaps the WICB’s most attractive regional cricketing product given the phasing out of the Caribbean Twenty20,” Cameron noted.
“We want to ensure that this tournament is scheduled and framed in a way which will ensure that we secure valuable sponsorship partners and that is the strong commitment which we have from the Ministry of Tourism in Trinidad and Tobago,” Cameron explained.
“Our Regional 4 Day tournament on the other hand remains a significantly developmental tournament which aims at preparing our regional players for the rigours of Test cricket and we are in the final stages of revamping the points system to allow for more competitive matches,” Cameron said.
“The WICB remains committed to all the territorial stakeholders with regard to the scheduling of cricket but we must also weigh the pros and cons with regard to the hosting of those tournaments which we see are more commercially viable and there are obvious market forces at play in the Caribbean which we cannot ignore,” Cameron said.
“We are also committed to ensuring that the players play the Regional 4 Day tournament throughout the region but for the Super50 it is impractical and will incur an enormous financial investment to play it throughout the region so we are constrained to one territory where sponsorship partnerships are available,” Cameron further stated.
“We have to ensure that we have commercial products which are able to bring in revenue so that we can invest in other developmental tournaments, particularly our youth tournaments where we nurture the young talents who go on to play for the West Indies,” Cameron explained.
“What we are pursuing is part of a well planned and defined process, looking at the development of West Indies cricket holistically and not in isolation or in an arbitrary manner,” Cameron said.
“The days of ad-hocism and knee-jerk reactions are in the past, we are moving forward with a clear approach which is geared towards ensuring the development of players in a systematic way balanced with the financial stability of the WICB,” Cameron outlined.
WICB CEO Michael Muirhead also said that the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) countries have benefitted heavily from the staging of regional and international cricket.
“As I noted in my recent address to the ministers of sport meeting in Grenada last week, in terms of the number of WICB international and regional matches in the recent seasons more matches have been played in the OECS countries than Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Guyana and Jamaica combined,” Muirhead said.
“This is a clear and unmistakable commitment to cricket in the OECS countries and the WICB will ensure that there is a wide distribution of matches – regional and international – as we prepare our annual schedule of cricket,” Muirhead clarified.
Muirhead also said that the WICB will continue to work with the local stadia owners and operators to ensure that the pitch and outfields are of suitable standards for regional and international cricket.
“We have hosted curators workshops and will continue to fund initiatives which are aimed at upskilling the relevant personnel so that our pitches and outfields meet the ICC standards,” Muirhead explained.
“The grounds, particularly international venues, are owned by clubs, governments and other authorities, sometimes through complex legal arrangements so the most sensible approach is for the WICB to continue the tradition of working with these authorities to ensure that West Indies fans enjoy their regional sport and the players are provided with quality surfaces to practice their trade,” Muirhead said.