By Rawle Toney
Government will not be caught in a state of unreadiness if the final of next year’s T20 World Cup is awarded to Barbados.
That assurance has come from Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Charles Griffith, who says Kensington Oval will be ready to host the final in the event that the International Cricket Council (ICC) gives the green light.
While there is widespread speculation that the final will be in Barbados, neither the ICC nor Cricket West Indies (CWI) has made any official announcements.
That speculation arose after president of the Barbados Cricket Association, Conde Riley announced two weeks ago that he had received confirmation from the ICC that Barbados had been selected to host the final.
Barbados will join Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, and Trinidad and Tobago as host countries for the June 4 – 30 tournament, which will be jointly held in the Caribbean and the USA.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, Griffith admitted he was optimistic that Barbados would be selected to host the coveted final. The picturesque Kensington Oval previously hosted the finals of two ICC events in the Caribbean: the 2007 World Cup and the 2010 T20 World Cup.
“It is something that we’re hoping for. I believe that plans are in train to host the finals.
“We are preparing as if we’re going to host the finals, so I suspect that if or when we do get the final word that we’re hosting the finals, it will be a win-win situation for everyone,” Griffth stated.
Regarding the allocation of matches for the ICC T20 World Cup, a CWI-appointed Venues Selection Committee, chaired by president Dr Kishore Shallow, has made recommendations to the ICC after a rigorous selection process of the seven host venues.
These recommendations are subject to venues confirming their commitment to all required obligations and receiving ICC approval.
The Minister said hosting the finals would fall right in line with the island’s thrust to become a hub for international sports in the Caribbean.
“This is all part of our (sports) tourism drive, so any event that is going to bring people into the island is a plus. What we’re trying to do is to see if we can use sports as one of those plans to grow the economy and the fact that we’re having all of these activities coming to Barbados is definitely a plus for all of us who are involved in sports.” Griffith said.
He said while the Government had invested in upgrading sports facilities on the island over the years to meet international standards, those benefits would not be seen right away.
“It is going to take a little time to see the fruits of that investment, but I think that if persons are focused enough on their particular discipline, what we’re going to see in the not-so-distant future, is the product of this investment by the Government,” Griffith pointed out.