The easing of restrictions for recreational outdoor activities has given the local cricketing fraternity a ray of hope that some form of domestic competition may still be possible this year.
The Covid-19 pandemic halted all sports, domestic cricket included, last March and Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) was hoping to get government approval to resume some form of competitive cricket in March.
On Saturday, members of the public were advised that the roll-back measure that will allow for outdoor recreational sporting activities for groups of no more than 22 persons, will officially be implemented as of yesterday.
Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe made the announcement on Saturday and noted that the new measure will not include league activities, meaning TTCB competitions are still on hold.
The TTCB sent out a notice to Zones and clubs yesterday indicating that teams and groups not exceeding 22 persons can engage in practice for recreational purposes and that the wearing of face masks must be observed at all times.
March is now off the table for the resumption of club cricket, with clubs needing at least three to four weeks to allow for preparations to be made to resume operations.
“What it does is that it gives some ray of hope for league cricket to resume,” TTCB National League Committee secretary Ryerson Bhagoo told the Express yesterday.
“They were clear to say no league competitions but the announcement does give us hope,” he added,
Bhagoo said plans have already been drawn up to play only 50-overs and T20 cricket this season and that all clubs have signalled their intention to participate by registering for the 2021 season.
He said there will be no promotions or demotions again this year and that the competitions could be played outside the “dry season window”.
“We started to look at potential dates to kick off the 2021 season and we are hopeful that if we get the go-ahead, the dates will fit that calendar. We are looking at an April start and finish for the 50-overs and then the T20 will start right after, so we will still be within what is dry season time-frame,” Bhagoo explained.
“We don’t want to go beyond the end of the June for any local cricket because we have a lot of other activities like the CPL and international tours to the Caribbean but personally, I don’t see an issue starting later. I think the competition can be reconfigure to suit the time frame. We have an opportunity in front of us,” he declared.
“The clubs generally have asked for a three weeks to one month to allow for preparation and once they have that time frame they okay for the start and they are willing to start. Cubs are on-board in playing the competition in the way we have described it,” Bhagoo added.
He also argued that cricket by its nature is socially distanced with a maximum 15 persons on the field at any one point in time and almost everyone is six feet or more from each other.
“Time seems like it is getting shorter in terms of the ideal window to play, but we can start later and finish when we want,” Bhagoo added.