Grave talks up Super50 benefits for Windies
ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC):
Cricket West Indies (CWI) Chief Executive Officer Johnny Grave says the successful staging of the Regional Super50 Cup will benefit the West Indies team, especially being hosted just prior to the three-match One-Day International (ODI) series against Sri Lanka next month.
The Super50, which started here on February 7 and concludes next Saturday, is the first domestic regional tournament to be staged by CWI since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last March.
“The Super50 Cup is a really important tournament for us. It will lead in nicely to the ODI series against Sri Lanka, which obviously forms part of the World Cup qualifiers for 2023,” Grave said.
“So it’s really important for the players that they’ve been given this opportunity to play some cricket for the selectors to get to see them up close and personal.
“Hopefully we can take those matches as preparation into the ODI series, because it’s really important, on the back of losing all three in Bangladesh, that we can bounce back and get up that Super League table, so that we don’t have to go through the qualification for the next World Cup.”
The first-class championship was the last tournament to be staged by CWI and that was aborted last March with two rounds remaining, because of the pandemic.
And while the Caribbean Premier League went ahead in August and September in Trinidad, the Super50 Cup remained off the table.
This year, the tournament has attracted a plethora of senior West Indies players, with Test captain Jason Holder, white-ball skipper Kieron Pollard, Shai Hope, Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer all available for their respective franchises.
Grave said the presence of these elite players has given the tournament an added dimension, and also strengthened the cricket culture.
“We always said we wanted to create a strong and vibrant domestic game and that involves having established, experienced players available and wanting to play, either for their regional team or West Indies, as well as having that crop of youngsters coming through, creating that pressure for places,” the Englishman pointed out.
“And I think the Super50 embodies that, and it’s great to see all the teams here and some of the best and biggest names in West Indies cricket wanting to win games, and that’s exactly the environment and culture we wanted to re-establish in West Indies cricket.”
The Super50 Cup has been played mainly at the Coolidge Cricket Ground, with 13 matches, including the semi-finals and final carded for the venue, and the remaining fixtures staged at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in North Sound.