TWO-TIME Twenty20 World Cup-winning captain, Darren Sammy, has urged fans to buy their tickets for the upcoming ICC Women’s T20 World Cup being staged in the Caribbean, and throw their full support behind the hosts who are defending champions.
The 34-year-old, who is also a Cricket West Indies (CWI) ambassador and has been promoting the November 9-24 tournament, on Monday purchased 50 tickets for each match-day of the St Lucia leg as a personal show of commitment.
Over-the-counter tickets sales started on Monday morning in the three host territories – St Lucia, Antigua and Guyana – and Sammy was among the first patrons to secure his tickets.
While the former Test and one-day captain did not disclose who would be the recipients of the tickets, he said he would be donating to “the people of St Lucia”.
“I want to urge everyone to get those tickets. Traditionally, we St Lucians like to buy our tickets over the counter, so this will be the most important stage of the sales,” he said during a media briefing at the venue, after purchasing his tickets and making good on an earlier promise to do so.
“This is going to a huge event in the region – we have not hosted a global cricket tournament since 2010 – so make sure you don’t miss out. Make sure you get your tickets and come out and support the women and the game of cricket.”
Ticket for the group stage matches at the Guyana National Stadium and the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground in St Lucia will go at just US$3 and US$4 respectively, in an effort to ensure more people across the Caribbean have access to the event.
The semi-finals, scheduled for the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua, will see tickets start at US$7, with the final at the same venue priced at US$11. A combination ticket package for the semis and final is priced at only US$15.
Sammy stressed that the upcoming tournament could be a “huge event” for the island and the most important event in the region for 2018.
“Women’s cricket is growing … growing really fast. This is about me showing my support for women’s cricket. As an ambassador, I felt it was important for me to contribute to this great event, which will be the biggest thing happening in the Caribbean this year,” he pointed out.
“When you hear of a world tournament, no matter what sport it is, it’s something prestigious. So my contribution is to make sure people come into every match and enjoy the biggest thing in St Lucia.”
He continued: “Momentum is building and we have already seen teams arriving so this is a sign that ‘we are ready’. The countdown is on just 11 days to go now.
“And remember, we are the champions. West Indies won it in 2016 and we all need to support our Stafanie Taylor and her amazing team as they defend the title. You won’t want to miss this … ‘watch this’.”
Earlier, Dave Richardson, CEO of the ICC also made a plea for fans to support the event.
“This is the first-ever standalone ICC Women’s World T20 event and there is no better place to host it than in the West Indies with the home team as defending champions,” he said.
“I’d love to see West Indian cricket fans come out in force to support the world’s best cricketers and watch the world champions defend their title on home soil. This event belongs to the Caribbean and its cricket fans.”
Fans attending matches can expect full music concerts for no extra charge. Some of the biggest names and best voices on the music scene will be on stage with Trinidadian soca star Patrice Roberts and popular Jamaican dancehall performer, Shenseea set to headline the shows on match days in Guyana and St Lucia.
The duo will also perform at the final in Antigua on November 24. They are the voices behind the tournament song ‘Watch This’, which has been the rallying call for fans to support the tournament.
Trinidadian soca band, KesThe Band, will be the headliners for the showpiece concert after the final at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground while Tanya Stephens from Jamaica will perform at the semi-finals on November 22.
The first standalone ICC Women’s T20 World Cup will also see the Decision Review System (DRS) used for the first time in any ICC World Twenty20 event, ensuring consistency in the use of technology in top world-level events.
West Indies will do battle in Group A along with England, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh while Australia, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and Ireland will compete in Group B.
This is the sixth edition of the tournament. Australia have won the title three times while England and the West Indies have won once each. (CMC)