While the West Indies Championship four-day competition has not come off so far this year, Cricket West Indies (CWI) director of cricket Jimmy Adams insisted that the tournament is not off the table even as contingency plans are being drawn up to ensure the region’s top cricketers are kept on their toes.
Speaking on the Mason and Guest podcast on Tuesday night, Adams underscored the importance of regional competition and stated that CWI is still looking for a ‘safe’ window to host the West Indies Championship. He also hinted at the possibility of a regional Under-19 competition as well as a home series against the South African Under-19s this year.
Asked about the possibility of playing regional four-day cricket, Adams said: “That is still on the table.”
“What I would not be able to say is if it becomes possible, what the window will be. Is it that we do it in the window before South Africa, do we do it in the window during the South Africa tour or during a window after South Africa and all of that is tied up in the regional situation with Covid-19,” he explained.
“It has not been taken off the table. We are still looking for a window in which to host regional cricket,” he added. Adams also noted that, for the time being, in lieu of regional four-day competition, CWI will be trying to get as much cricket played to keep the players sharp.
He said that even if it is not territory versus territory, they will be looking to have games played within the territories, even if they have to support it from a resource point of view.
“We will continue to look at any and all possibilities to continue the concept of bringing together the best 24 players to play amongst themselves with a carrot of a potential selection into an international team. In the back of all that, we will be constantly reassessing the landscape for the earliest opportunity to actually revert back to four-day cricket between the territories,” said Adams.
“I think that having the best players in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad, the Leewards, playing amongst themselves is definitely a second best option and so from discussions that I have had, we are very clear that as soon as a window presents itself where it is safe to bring all of our Caribbean players into a venue and travel into and out of that venue is a safe option and a viable option, then we will take it at the earliest opportunity,” he added.”
“It’s not a first option but it is the best we have at the minute, and we have that fall-back position of scheduling four-day cricket when the time comes. It might not be ten rounds. It might be a shortened version, but we are desperate to keep our first-class and fringe first-class players playing some sort of competitive cricket and if it has to internalised within the territories then so be it, but they need to be playing,” he continued.
He also insisted that playing internal matches is not only about getting international players prepared but also about assessing the talent pool.
“A lot of these players who performed against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh got there on the back of having performed in regional cricket. We need to see, as often as we can, what is out there and what resources we have and who could potentially step up to the plate. It really is a benefit to every section of our cricketing landscape to have as much competitive red-ball cricket throughout the region as we can, and we will be looking at all the options. We have to...we don’t have a choice,” said Adams.
In terms of youth cricket, the former West Indies Test captain said: “We are still hopeful of hosting an Under-19 tournament in the second half of the summer prior to a home series against a South Africa Under-19.”