Facilities a big issue for cricket’s future

According to a senior cricket authority, the future of Cayman cricket will hinge on facilities.

‘Our major concern right now is facilities. All of them [the cricket pitches] are government-owned. Government needs to try to find more grounds immediately,’ says Cayman Islands National Cricket Coach Theo Cuffy.

The issue of more cricket facilities is accented by the closure of the Smith Road Oval by 31 December 2006.

’12 of the teams in division 1 [of the local cricket league] are based in George Town. More grounds will have to be sought in George Town,’ Coach Cuffy said.

At the beginning of the year, Sports Minister Alden McLaughlin had said that government would pledge US$600,000 to the national cricket programme. However, that money was slated to be used for the renovation of the Jimmy Powell Oval in West Bay to ensure it meets international standards.

In addition, Antiguan businessman Allen Stanford had granted US$100,000 towards the cricket association. The money was reportedly used to rebuild the remainder of existing, post-Ivan cricket-related infrastructure.

Another major part of the problem is the demands of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in regards to the various stages of membership.

‘Our Associate status with the ICC is currently threatened. The ICC wants all associate countries to have over 3 fields to host competitions. Cayman, in my opinion, has only 1 ½.

‘I’ve heard that government has land by the Northward Prison Grounds [in Bodden Town]. Another cricket field could be built there. [Or if the cost of building cricket fields is too great] government must think of having more facilities that host more than one sport,’ says Coach Cuffy.

According to the ICC rules and regulations, all Associate members must have ground facilities that should be of a standard similar to those of other Associate member countries with a minimum of four operational grounds available and being used in competition matches.

The lack of facilities could potentially result in Cayman’s membership with the ICC being demoted to Affiliate status. This would result in significantly lower financial aid and denial of the right to vote or make propositions at ICC meetings.