Stage set for 2013 Caribbean T20 cricket
PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD - Trinidad and Tobago cricket fans are gearing up to welcome the region’s best cricketers for the first stage of the 2013 Caribbean T20 Championships which gets underway on January 6 at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain.
Defending champion TT, led by wicketkeeper/batsman Denesh Ramdin, are heavily fancied to advance to the next stage of the two-week competition which shifts to the Beausejour Stadium in St Lucia leading to the final on January 20.
TT are the most successful team in regional T20 history and their cricketers are credited with ushering in an era of success in the shortest form of the game hatched by the Stanford Twenty20 which earlier this year translated into the Caribbean domination of the ICC World Championship in Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, the TT Cricket Board’s members are quite pleased that they were able to snag the 2013 edition of the regional T20 competition.
They are happy that TT will be the focus of attention throughout the cricket world during the second week of the New Year when ESPN — the American cable television sports channel — will carry live coverage of the Oval leg of the tournament.
The effort to bring the regional T20 to TT was a collaborative one between the TT Cricket Board and the Ministry of Sports headed by Anil Roberts which played a integral role in creating all the conditions for the staging of the competition at the Oval.
The TTCB is especially proud also of making a successful bid for the first stage of the competition as its proposal not only found favour with the West Indies Cricket Board, but also gave the Ministry of Tourism a boost in its effort to promote sports tourism.
President of the TTCB, Azim Bassarath, believes that new standards will be set when the Caribbean T20 bowls off on January 6 as no stone has been left unturned to ensure that everything is in place for a successful competition.
“A lot of hard work has been achieved in setting the conditions right for the Caribbean T20. The administrators have played their part and it is now up to the cricketers and the fans to make their input in producing something truly memorable,” said Bassarath.
Also the Public Service Transport Corporation (PTSC) is playing a leading role in the regional T20 and will provide the transport of the visiting teams and officials in their luxury coaches for the duration of the competition at the Oval.
TTCB believe that all is in place to successfully stage the initial rounds of the tournament and are confident that the collaborative effort with the Ministry of Sport, PTSC and the management of the Queen’s Park Oval has set the stage for TT to retain the 2013 championship.
Cricket fans are also being urged to rally around the TT team as they seek to qualify for the fourth time for the Champions League T20 to which the reigning Caribbean champions get an automatic berth.
The best effort by the TT team was when they created a sensation in India as the “Cinderella” team of the tournament by reaching the final. It is worth noting that the only other Caribbean team to qualify for the Champions League T20 were Guyana when they added to the short but rich history of Caribbean T20 by winning the regional title when the competition was staged in TT in 2010.
Yesterday Bassarath said he was optimistic that the bar will be raised when the Caribbean T20 is staged at the Oval. He had high praise for his TTCB team who put together the proposal and ensured that everything was put in place for the teams, officials and fans to enjoy their cricket experience for the entire week.
“We have had great experience over the years staging these kinds of tournaments, but there were additional challenges this year, but we were able to surmount them in the hope that the tournament will bring the desired benefits to the entire country,” said Bassarath.
The TTCB chief praised the Ministry of Sports for their meaningful involvement in partnering with the TTCB as well as the PTSC, Oval management and others who have come on board to contribute to the national effort.