9 Hrs Ago
ALL SYSTEMS are go for the staging of this year’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 Tournament at the Queen’s Park Oval, St Clair, and Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Tarouba.
Although the August 18 to September 12 tourney will, for the first time, be played without fans in adherence to stern covid19 regulations, officials representing both venues expressed elation on TT’s confirmed pick as hosts.
Speaking to Queen’s Park Cricket Club secretary Colin Murray and UDECOTT chairman Noel Garcia on Friday, the pair shared similar sentiments surrounding the readiness of their respective stadia for the 2020 edition.
“We are ready and raring to go,” said Murray. “The pitch is going to be in superlative condition and the outfield is going to be excellent. All systems are firing at the QPCC. We have always been ready for August. We have minor touching up to do and a couple small things to do on the outfield. We’re going to start preparation of the pitches shortly and we’re ready to go.”
According to Murray, whether the CPL would have been postponed or cancelled due to the global pandemic, Queen’s Park still conducted the required ‘behind-the-scene’ maintenance to ensure the Oval would be ready.
“They were always talking about August for the start of CPL so whether it came off or not, we decided to ensure we prepared beforehand,” he added.
Garcia also shared a similar stance on the preparedness of the south venue and eagerly anticipates a smooth start to the CPL. He affirmed the readiness of this facility and its staff to ensure a seamless tournament at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy.
“The stadium has always been ready. The grounds are in pristine condition. All the lights are working, we are ready. It is one of the better maintained sporting facilities in TT and the Caribbean. If the CPL was to start tomorrow, we will be ready. What we can guarantee is when cricket is ready to be played, all will be well,” said the UDECOTT chairman.
Garcia continued, “We are responsible to have the grounds ready for whatever day and the duration of the tournament. Up to last weekend, we had a couple matches to make sure the lighting and grounds were up to standard.”
Over the past two months, the Ministry of Sport and CPL officials have been in negotiations to confirm TT as the host nation. Detailed discussions were also held regarding the safety arrangements in relation to covid19 protocol and guidelines.
On Thursday, Minister of Sport Shamfa Cudjoe affirmed TT as hosts and also shed light on the many preventative measures that would be implemented to ensure the safety and security of all officials, players and staff present at each facility during matches.
During their discussions, it was agreed upon that visiting players would be tested for coronavirus before they leave their home country. Upon arrival in TT, the players would be tested once more before entering a 14-day quarantine.
On the players’ seventh day here, they would be retested and then once more on the 14th day.
The visiting players will be arriving from South Africa, England, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, North America, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan. Players from throughout the Caribbean would also fly to TT for the tournament.
Cudjoe also made clear that spectators will not be allowed to enter the venues to view the matches and must enjoy from the safety of their homes.
With regards to stadia protocol regarding covid19 regulations, both Murray and Garcia admitted these guidelines will be handed down to CPL officials by the Ministry of Health, before being passed on venue staff for application.
Murray closed, “The stadia regulations are totally up to CPL and the Ministry of Health and we would be guided by both entities. The Ministry of Health will guide CPL and then they would guide us. We’re just making the venue available. They will then give us the stipulations and guidelines to follow and all protocols will have to be observed.”