Exciting Twenty20 cricket restarts in Barbados this weekend with the bowl-off of the 2016 Sagicor General Insurance tournament at two venues.
Matches in the revamped Twenty20 tournament, organised by the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA), will be played at four venues in the opening rounds on Saturday and Sunday.
Two double-headers are scheduled for Saturday starting at 10 a.m. at Beckles Road and the Lester Vaughan School , while the double-headers on Sunday will be played at the Pine Basin and the Desmond Haynes Oval.
On Saturday, in Zone A , MTW will oppose Yorkshire at 10 a.m. at Beckles Road while home team YMPC will meet ESA Field Pickwick at 2 p.m. at the same venue.
In Zone B at Lester Vaughan Secondary, Nicholls Baking Combermere come up against Gladiola (formerly Lime Sports Club) at 10 a.m. while Guardian General Barbados Youth oppose Barbados Fire Service at 2 p.m.
During a media conference yesterday where sponsors and organisers came together to announce an earlier start to the season, BCA director of cricket Stephen Leslie disclosed that the overhaul of the popular competition was aimed at generating greater interest in this form of the game, which had proven itself to be a nursery for future West Indies players.
In the new structure, Leslie said, the tournament would be divided into two phases where the island’s ten Division 1 teams were being split into two zones of five and will play each other in a round-robin format before the top two zone winners advance to the second phase of the tournament, where they will join the ten Elite division teams in the Super12 phase.
The semi-finals and final will be played under lights at Kensington Oval, where the play-off for the Cup is scheduled for June 17.
“This type of format will be a step in the right direction where we will be able to engage persons and allow young men and women to realise that T20 is the way that cricket has been evolving for the last few years and it is something that can be utilised to be able to bring families together,” said Leslie.
President and chief executive of long-serving tournament-sponsors Sagicor General Insurance, David Alleyne, said his company was proud to provide significant support to the BCA and the development of Barbados cricket for many years.
“Even though times have become tougher and strain is being felt by all, we remain committed to assisting the BCA in the work they do, which we see as being more than just organising cricket. We see it as providing a platform for the development of our people and creating avenues for expressing the excellence that lies within our people and preparing them for the world stage,” said Alleyne.
The Sagicor General president, also a former Division 1 cricketer, took the opportunity to congratulate the three victorious West Indies teams for their recent world-beating performances and said their success was also the success of Barbadians and all Caribbean citizens.
Alleyne added: “I think it is also the success of the BCA as well. You can feel justifiably proud as certainly the Barbados players have passed through and were nurtured by this association as they grew and developed. Sagicor General Insurance is proud to have played our part in this journey.”
He further disclosed that one of the imperatives that drove Sagicor General as a company, was the vision of helping to uplift the communities in which they operated and through cricket they believed they were reaping success.
In brief speeches at the media conference, new chief executive of the BCA, Noel Lynch, and Kamal Springer, chairman of the Sagicor Tournament committee, praised Sagicor General for their outstanding contribution to cricket in Barbados.