Last Saturday’s opening match of this year’s Hero Caribbean Premier League competition at Kensington Oval was met with much fanfare, excitement and approval by the thousands of cricket lovers who packed the historic venue.
From Government ministers Stephen Lashley and Dr Esther Byer, to West Indies women’s player Shaquana Quintyne and West Indies Players’ Association president Wavell Hinds, to legendary musician Eddy Grant all gave the thumbs up to the third edition of the competition.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY, Minister of Sport Lashley said the competition was a great avenue for the island’s sports tourism product.
“I think the CPL brand does bring a tremendous amount of marketability to the Caribbean and, of course, to Barbados.
“Our sports tourism benefits a lot from this type of cricket and, of course, coming just before the full launch of Crop Over, I think it adds a good blend of sports and culture,” he added.
For Minister of Labour and Social Security Byer, it was an especially pleasing moment to watch one her former Cub Scout Jason Holder in action.
“When I was a Cub Scout leader, Jason Holder was one my Cubs. In fact, I think at one point he was a Sixer,” Byer revealed. “The CPL is very exciting, and I couldn’t miss the first match; we had to be out. The atmosphere is riveting and very lively; there’s a lot of excitement, and the stands are full.”
For the opening night of competition, Hinds said he was impressed with the number of fans who had turned out.
“I think for the CPL’s first day it looks very good. There’s great crowd support and, of course, two exciting teams are playing. Kensington Oval is a great cricket ground, and I’m sure the fans are enjoying themselves.”
Quintyne, a leg-spinner for the regional women’s team said: “I think it is a great experience for young up-and-coming cricketers, as it helps to give them some exposure and also puts some money in their pockets. So I think it’s a great thing that’s going on.”
She also said she would like to see a similar competition being held for women as well.
According to Grant, the highly anticipated event was a welcome sight for both patrons and vendors.
“It’s great entertainment. I’ve seen Mac Fingall down there with his band getting the people going, and I think it’s a great thing to happen. Any entertainment right now can only be good for us.”