Cayman Islands will soon have a pro cricket team thanks to the largesse of billionaire Sir Allen Stanford who is pumping millions into cricket in the region.
The second Stanford 20/20 tournament in Antigua is throwing up more thrills and spills than the first one from two years ago and by the time the next one arrives in early 2009, one local all rounder hopes to be a part of what will be a Cayman pro team.
Kevon Bazil was in Cayman’s squad of 16 for the Stanford trip but missed the final cut to 13. He went along anyway to soak in the atmosphere and support his team-mates, especially twin brother Kevin who played in the fateful game against St Lucia Pro Team two weeks ago.
Cayman lost by 46 runs and in the next round St Lucia lost by eight wickets to a powerful Trinidad and Tobago side on Saturday.
With Cayman going pro soon and relying more on younger players, Kevon hopes to make the team outright next time. ‘I’ll be one more year experienced and also most of the guys who made the trip this year will not be there next time,’ he said. ‘So I think I’ll have a pretty good chance. I’ll work hard at it, train hard and see what happens.’
Kevon is equally as good with bat and ball and wants to remain adept at both. ‘I don’t want to specify any part of my game. I want to be an all round performer and contribute to the team. Sometimes the top article fails and the bottom article comes and does it so I just want to be an all rounder.’
He is anxious to be at the next Stanford. ‘The Stanford 20/20 has made a big impression on me. It’s a fast paced game so you have to be on the ball from the start. You can’t just go in there and try to play yourself in. You have to get yourself in from the pavilion because you never know what’s going to happen. It only takes one ball to out you or change the game. Before the first Stanford, everybody was a bit nervous but this time round the Cayman side was trying to get the feeling back. It’s a nice game, 20/20 and everybody’s kind of loving it now.’
It seems that records are being set at virtually every game, including John Eugene’s magnificent unbeaten century for St Maarten, a Stanford first. Amazingly, Eugene still finished on the losing side, against St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Bazil, 26, is not surprised, after all, raising cricket standards is exactly why Sir Allen – a Texan based in Antigua – created this tournament in the first place. ‘The standards are rising with every tournament,’ Bazil added. ‘Most of the teams are starting to go pro now so we have to wait and see who’s going to turn pro next. When you turn pro you play a lot more cricket so your body gets accustomed to the game instead of playing part-time, having to leave work and coming and practicing in the afternoon.’
He will strongly consider leaving his job at AL Thompson’s as a receiving clerk if selected for the pro side but is not taking anything for granted. ‘I can’t say anything right now. We’ve just got to wait and see if it comes through and then we’ll work towards it.’