As Guyana misses out on hosting 20/20 Semi-finals
By Sean Devers in Barbados
Speaking to a room full of journalists after Saturday night’s ticket sales launching for the ICC 2010 World 20/20 cricket tournament to be held in the West Indies from April 30 next year, Earnest Hillarie, the new CEO of the WICB said that rain in May was a main reason why Guyana was overlooked as host for one of the semi finals.
Both semi-finals will be played in St Lucia on May 13 and 14 and the semi-finals will be double headers involving both the Men and Women version of the competition.
Asked what was the selection process leading up to Barbados, St Lucia and Guyana being given to host matches, Hillarie informed that because of the traditional rainy season in Guyana in May, the South American country, which was considered for a semi-final was eventually overlooked and the match taken to St Lucia.
“When selecting venues for matches we looked at the capacity and standard of the grounds along with several other things like weather patterns and ability to accommodate the expected number of players and officials. Barbados, which has the experience of hosting the final of the 2007 World Cup met all of the requirements and was given the final while Guyana and St Lucia were considered for a semi-final each. However due to the rainy season in Guyana in May it was decided to give the Guyana the first set of matches before their rainy season kicked in,” Hillarie explained.
The St Lucian said that Guyana will host the opening matches between New Zealand and Sri Lanka and West Indian and one of the Associate qualifiers in a double header on April 30, 2 more double headers will be held at the Guyana National Stadium on May 3 & 4 as Guyana was given 6 first round games.
St Lucia, which hosted the 2007 World Cup semi-finals between Champions Australia and South Africa, will host 10 matches including the 4 semi-finals while Barbados 12 matches. St Kitts will host 10 matches in the Women’s version of the tournament which, like this year in England, will be at the same time as the Men’s tournament before the 2 Womens’ semis are played in Barbados and the final in Barbados on the same day as the men’s final.
Hillaire explained that things like the ability to host games under lights, the willingness to sign to ICC guarantee and the make their venues available at a low cost were some of the criteria used to select venues after a bid was made by several venues in the region.
An ICC official also told Kaieteur Sport that apart from the prospects of rain in May Guyana was hard pressed to get semi-final matches because of the country’s inability to provide adequate accommodation.
“While Guyana has excellent accommodation at 2 hotels and hosted matches in the last World Cup, one must understand that this time it is different in that 2 matches, involving 4 teams will be played on the same day and since top level accommodation has to be available for 4 teams, 4 sets of media and 4 sets of fans, it was felt, after checking, that Guyana did not have sufficient accommodation to host the bigger double header matches,” the ICC official informed after the ticket launching in Barbados on Saturday night.
Hillaire said that unlike 2007 when the revenue from ticket sales were divided among the LOCs for their contribution, this time the ICC is funding everything and will pay the WICB a host fee of US$750,000 while US$2 Million will be allocated to the Regional board by the ICC.
It was also disclosed that the prize will be higher than it was for the last tournament this year. Hillarie also told the gathering that Guyana has the option of hosting the opening ceremony.
The CEO also disclosed that the WICB has planned no regional 20/20 tournament even as a West Indies team for the 2010 World Cup has to be picked.
“We have not thought about postponing the regional 4-day competition and we don’t have the time and space in our cricket schedule to accommodate a regional 20/20 before the 20/20 World Cup,” Hillaire said
He added that since the players will be in Australia for the test series until late December and then return for the ODI and 20/20 series in February before playing at home to Zimbabwe it would be difficult to fit in a regional 20/20 competition before the 20/20 World Cup.
And WICB President said that the region was less than 200 days away from another signature moment in its history and in the annals of cricket within the West Indies.
“Not so long ago, the possibility of a world-class sporting event coming to our shores would have been considered at best a fanciful notion. Now, here we are preparing diligently for our second international cricket tournament in less than three years with the confidence and professionalism of seasoned experts,” the WICB Top man said.
“Tomorrow (today) we will embark on a critical part of the journey that culminates in ICC World Twenty20 West Indies 2010.
We will start the processing of selling tickets. In many ways, this will define how well we are planning and naturally how well the tournament is received by fans in the Caribbean and around the world. The sale of tickets is one of the most effective and tangible barometers for measuring public excitement and expectation about a particular event or occasion. This is no different,” he added.
“Yes, the tickets prices are very attractive, some might even say cheap – and this helps. It is not often that a fan can boast of seeing some of the best players in a sport compete in a final for US$40. In fact, it’s TWO finals for that price – both the men’s and women’s. There is also the potential of watching some riveting First Round match-ups for just US$5. Special consideration has also been given to Under-16 fans.
Hunte said the public’s vibe has so far been positive towards this tournament. “We anticipate that we will see that mounting goodwill borne out in the ticket sales, both regionally and internationally. Strong and speedy ticket sales will auger well for the match-day spectacle of packed stands with screaming spectators cheering every free hit and balls flying over the dugouts and out of the grounds,” the St Lucian added.
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