WICB says Antigua now permanent home for regional cricket
West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron says Antigua and Barbuda will be the permanent home of cricket in the Caribbean.
West Indies cricket teams, at all levels, will meet there for training ahead of competitions. The WICB says that this makes sense since the body is already headquartered on the island.
WICB marketing & communications manager, Carole Beckford, says that the new arrangement was made possible because of the relationship between the board and the Antiguan government.
“All of the developmental infrastructure, the high performance centre, the centre of training – all of that facility will be in Antigua,” she says. “It was brought about by the arrangement we have with Antigua with regards to the former Stanford Cricket Ground – also known as ‘Sticky Wicket’. The government of Antigua and the West Indies Cricket Board have a Memorandum of Understanding and a relationship to occupy that property.”
Beckford told The Gleaner that the remodelling of the cricket field is currently under way and other facilities such as the restaurant and the athletic club, will be built up over the next three years.
Cameron says that this will follow the work the board has done to increase its full time staff to 300. This includes players (both men and women), administrators and umpires on retainer contracts.
He added that this means that Jamaica has a lot more to do in order to not fall behind Antigua and the rest of the region with regard to cricket.
“The rest of the region has engaged cricket much more than Jamaica,” he says.
He would add that this is also why Jamaica has not been granted many Test matches by the WICB recently. This is because Sabina Park, which he describes as the “major cricket stadium”, is in Kingston.
“I was recently asked why we aren’t seeing more Test matches in the island [Jamaica],” the president said. “Maybe one of the reasons is that our major cricket stadium is in the city. Some of us don’t see the city as a tourist destination. The other islands are not that big so all the stadiums are on the sea, basically. When we go to the governments in the region, they’re all begging (for) West Indies cricket, except Jamaica and that is a reality.”
Cameron says the WICB facilitates negotiations with whichever government contacts it, as it is running a business. This business, he says, will bring more people and jobs to each Caribbean territory as he said the WICB is running what he describes as a sports industry in cricket.