Wed | Jul 24, 2019

JCA clears air on Sabina Test bidding

Published:Friday | December 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMRachid Parchment/ Sports News Coordinator
Kraigge Brathwaite plays a shot on his way to a century on the first day of the second Test match between the West Indies and Bangladesh at Sabina Park earlier this year.

Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) President Wilford 'Billy' Heaven has addressed concerns that the nation's main cricket venue, Sabina Park in Kingston, is not getting enough of the Windies' Test matches.

Heaven, who was addressing journalists at an Editors' Forum hosted by The Gleaner at its headquarters in downtown Kingston on Tuesday, said that the JCA has to be strategic in its approach to bidding for Test matches as getting the best value for money is a priority.

"That is a part of our strategy going forward," he said. "We don't want to be paying out huge sums, and when you look at the value for that, it doesn't match up. We look for a bankable type of return on our investments."

The JCA spends an estimated US$500,000 (J$64 million at today's rate) to host Test matches, and JCA Chief Executive Officer Courtney Francis said that this figure has to cover various costs.

"This entails accommodation, transportation, and we engage a number of services," he told The Gleaner. "This goes into catering. We have room attendants, liaison officers, marketing personnel, so it's a number of variables that comes up to that US$500,000 and that does not include the match fees. If you take match fees into consideration, it's an even larger amount."

Meanwhile, JCA Chief Operations Manager O'Neil Cruickshank says that there needs to be mindfulness of the number of top-quality cricketing venues around the region. By this, he means that Cricket West Indies has a responsibility to ensure that there is parity in match distribution across the region, and one territory cannot get significantly more games than others.

"We have been getting a few matches," Cruickshank said. "What you find is that Cricket West Indies also has to balance its venues. After 2007 (when the West Indies hosted the ICC World Cup), we now have 15 venues that we have to now share. You can't take everything and give to Jamaica because it's the biggest island. You have to share that around. What CWI has tried to do is look after everybody. When the English come here, they may make a case that there are two particular islands they want to go to and you may accept that."

Interestingly, figures show that Sabina Park gets an average of one Test match per year, a number that is actually the same as that of decades past. This figure is also actually the same for other venues across the Caribbean.