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‘REALLY IMPORTANT’: Johnny Grave, CWI chief executive

Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief executive, Johnny Grave, says the successful staging of the Super50 Cup will have positive repercussions for the West Indies team, especially being hosted just prior to the three-match one-day series against Sri Lanka next month.

The Super50, which bowled off here on February 7 and concludes on Saturday, is the first domestic regional tournament to be staged by CWI since the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Super50 Cup is a really important tournament for us. It will lead in nicely to the One-Day International series against Sri Lanka which obviously forms part of the World Cup qualifiers for 2023,” Grave explained. “So it’s really important for the players that they’ve been given this opportunity to play some cricket for the selectors to get to see them up close and personal.

“Hopefully we can take those matches as preparation into the ODI series because it’s really important on the back of losing all three in Bangladesh that we can bounce back and get up that Super League table, so that we don’t have to go through the qualification for the next World Cup.”

The first class championship was the last tournament to be staged by CWI and that was aborted last March with two rounds remaining, due to the threat of the coronavirus. And while the Caribbean Premier League went ahead in August and September in Trinidad, the Super50 Cup remained off the table .

This year, the tournament has attracted a plethora of senior West Indies players. And Grave said their presence of these elite players had given the tournament an added dimension, and also strengthened the cricket culture.

“We always said we wanted to create a strong and vibrant domestic game and that involves having established, experienced players available and wanting to play, either for their regional team or West Indies, as well as having that crop of youngsters coming through creating that pressure for places,” the Englishman pointed out.

“And I think the Super50 embodies that and it’s great to see all the teams here and some of the best and biggest names in West Indies cricket wanting to win games, and that’s exactly the environment and culture we wanted to re-establish in West Indies cricket.”

The Super50 Cup has been played mainly at the Coolidge Cricket Ground, with 13 matches including the semi-finals and final set for the venue, and the remaining fixtures staged at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in North Sound.

Formerly the Stanford Cricket Ground, CWI recently acquired the facility as part of its development strategy, and Grave said plans were in the pipeline to fully commercialise it. “We’re not just trying to establish it as a world class cricket venue but also to have commercial activities which would help to fund and maintain those facilities,” Grave said.

“We’ve completed the acquisition of this fantastic facility – 16 acres right next to the airport with already as we can see, great first class facilities. We want to take those to the next level and we’ve got really ambitious plans to invest millions of dollars and to create a genuinely world class cricket facility for our best players and our future stars.”

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