It’s a big year for cricket in the Caribbean as the region is gearing up to host the World Cup, 5 March through 28 April. But there is good reason for cricket fans in Cayman to be excited about right here as well. Cayman Islands Technical Director Theo Cuffy promises plenty of action on the home front from both the domestic leagues and the national team.
First of all, Cuffy received good news from the Cayman Islands government recently when he was informed that the Cricket Association can continue to use the Smith Road Oval (the country’s most popular pitch, near the Owen Roberts Airport in George Town). It appeared that the pitch may be lost due to regulation problems with the government land.
‘We are delighted that government has consented to our appeals to keep the cricked field open for at least this season,’ said Cuffy. ‘We are grateful to the Sports Minister Alden McLaughlin for his work to ensure that we could keep the field. We will do all we can to keep it clean and make sure that cricket in Cayman beneifits from the opportunity.’
‘This is an extremely important season for us,’ he continued. ‘Our national team will be heading to Australia in May.’
That trip down under won’t be for sightseeing and didgeridoo shopping. Cuffy’s men will compete in the 2007 ICC World Cricket League Division Three. This tournament, scheduled to be played in Darwin from 27 May and 6 June. The tournament is part of the qualification structure for the 2011 World Cup and the ICC World Cricket League. Cuffy says team placement is extremely important for Cayman.
Final places are worth the following:
1st and 2nd place: advancement to 2007 Division Two;
3rd and 4th place: place in 2009 Division Three;
5th to 8th place: place in 2008 Division Four
‘Doing really well in Australia will move us up to Division Two which is what we really want,’ Cuffy said. ‘Success in this tournament will show that our programs are working.’
Cuffy says a pool of 20 players have already been selected to train. From them, a national team will be selected for the tournament in Australia. He says he is pleased with the young players that are coming up and feels he will be able to build and strong team. For example, hot young bowlers such as Ronald Ebanks and Troy Taylor have Cuffy smiling about Cayman’s chances.
An additional incentive to do well in the tournament is that ICC grant money will increase substantially for the two top teams. That money, says Cuffy, will go a long way toward making Cayman cricket even better.