February start for Senior Cup
Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) Chief Executive Officer Courtney Francis says that the national club competition, the Senior Cup, could start in February if the association gets the approval from the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
Francis told The Gleaner that there will be no resumption of local cricket for the rest of this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Francis says games could be played in the new year if all protocols are observed.
The local Senior Cup competition was halted at the fifth round in March, after Jamaica’s first official confirmed case of COVID-19. Francis said that local intra-parish competition could start cricket’s return in January 2021, and that would give the JCA a test run as they look to phase cricket back into the local sporting calendar.
“What we did was that we gave ourselves enough time because we were tracking the [COVID-19] numbers based on what the Ministry of Health put out, and we know we are now in our second phase of the spread,” he said. “The World Health Organization said that the second phase normally lasts between two to three months, so we used some of that data as our guide to determine a restart time.”
Twenty-four teams are expected to contest the Senior Cup competition next season, however, with cricket being on a halt, Francis said that the restart has to be meticulously calculated and that all the proper protocols are observed moving forward.
“Cricket is not something you can just start up like that,” he said. “Even if we are going to start, we have to give our members enough time to get their venues back up to scratch and get people put on some fitness programmes, and get the pitches up and ready. So, the New Year seems to be the likely start-up for any tournament.”
Francis says he and his team have had to redo their budget and schedule, and he is hoping that the situation with the pandemic will improve by the new year.