Outlining Antigua and Barbuda’s outstanding record of delivering world-class cricket, even amid the global pandemic, Sports Minister the Honorable Daryll Matthew has promised the country will stand tall in hosting the ICC Under 19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2022.
Addressing the Host Venue Announcement for the upcoming tournament yesterday at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium (SVRS), he upheld Antigua as an excellent example in safely hosting international sport despite the ongoing spectre of COVID-19.
“Throughout the year we demonstrated our ability to stage events and do it well. The CG Insurance Super 50 tournament, we successfully hosted the entire event. The Sri Lanka (men’s) tour – we delivered. We successfully hosted a Pakistan (women’s) tour as well as the South Africa women’s tour – we delivered. And a few weeks ago, we successfully hosted the ICC Americans tournament – we delivered.
“And so, this tournament with the Under-19s…will once again be a demonstration of our ability to successfully host and to do it so very well,” Matthew told invited guests, including the country’s four cricketing knights – Sir Vivian Richards, Sir Andy Roberts, Sir Richie Richardson and Sir Curtly Ambrose.
Johnny Grave, CEO of Cricket West Indies (CWI), echoed the minister’s sentiments, noting that putting on “any event in the pandemic is a massive challenge” but that CWI has withstood the test.
“This is an extremely exciting event for us and culminates an unbelievable year of cricket particularly in Antigua and Barbuda where we’ve hosted, in this country, more cricket in the last ten months despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic than ever before. We welcomed more international teams in both our men’s and women’s sports as well as the inaugural women’s A Team series that we hosted here against Pakistan in the summer,” he said, citing the West Indies as a prime cricketing destination.
In addition, Grave praised the unsung heroes of the game, who continue to work tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure the game keeps going strong during these difficult times.
“I want to thank probably a group of people that don’t get thanked enough – and that’s the ground staff here at the Stadium and at Coolidge Cricket Ground – for the amount work that the ground staff put in, not just to produce good quality wickets for the matches, but for the important preparation of our teams, both the visiting teams and also the West Indies teams, (it) has been second to none. They have worked morning, noon and night; weekends, bank holidays, in order to allow us to play cricket in this country.”
Matthew also hailed the contributions of persons who work behind the scenes in cricket, applauding them for their diligent service.
“I would like to thank those persons who often go unheralded – the ground staff, the cleaning staff, those persons who ensure that when the team steps out onto the field they can do so with the confidence (of) knowing that the field is in immaculate condition and we have excellent pitches,” said the minister, assuring CWI and the International Cricket Council (ICC) of the Government’s continued support.
Antigua and Barbuda will host the entire Super League segment of the U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2022, featuring 12 matches in 11 days from January 26 to the final on February 5 at SVRS. The Super League includes the quarterfinals, semi-finals and the title-decider, with six matches each being held at SVRS and Coolidge Cricket Ground.