With Saint Lucia set to host six matches for this year’s ICC Men’sT20 World Cup, in June, local organizers have been busy working out the details and putting structures in place for the event.
Saint Lucia is due to host Australia, Sri Lanka and the West Indies among other teams over a two-week period, during the June 1 to 29, ICC T20 World Cup.
At a media launch, on Wednesday, Sports Minister Kenson Casimir provided an update on the work behind the scenes involving members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and other stakeholders involved in organizing the tournament.
Citing the popularity and impact of the game on avid regional fans and other global supporters, acting Director of Sports Clivus Jules remarked that cricket connects the region and the wider globe in more ways than other sports. He said that ‘cricket goes well beyond the boundary’ and in some ways creates an ‘economic impact’, with life lessons abounding.
President of the St Lucia Cricket Association [SLNCA], and LOC Chairperson Wayne Auguste described Saint Lucia hosting of the games as a ‘momentous occasion’.
“The timing of this World Cup is so precise as the National Cricket Association has just embarked on a strategic plan to roll out our Grassroots Programme,” he told the gathering.
Auguste declared that the Grassroots Programme is the “most exciting aspect of the programme for the youngsters where it attracts the young ladies and young men” to practice their skills. He said the June event, will draw young players to the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground [DSCG] to see “their heroes” play.
“We are committed to ensuring this tournament is a resounding success …and I have every confidence in the team members that we will be able to pull it together and host one of the best tournaments ever,” Auguste declared.
Sports Minister Casimir noted that as government moves towards the professionalisation of sports on the island, it was important to recognize that “cricket is one of the disciplines that may have the transformative power to ensure that young people can become ‘instant millionaires’ …and with the contract figures now available, cricket may have the power to transform communities.”
The sports minister cited the recent establishment of the High-Performance Centre [HPC], which he says, “has been built on the aspect of developmental cricket” and to also incorporate the physical, and social aspect of developing young players.
He informed that the government has provided more than $1million, in the past two and a half years on sporting equipment to the island’s athletes.
In the leadup to the ICC T20 World Cup, Casimir said, there has been a “complete rehabilitation” of works at the DSCG, to entail resurfacing of the pitch, drainage, and roofing among other amenities.
A concerted effort has also been made to retrofit the lighting component at the DSCG, which has deteriorated in service after it was installed over 20 years ago, the minister added.
“We have invested a significant amount in transforming the lights at the DSCG to LED,” he said.
Casimir said rehabilitation works will also be undertaken at the Mindoo Phillip Park [MPP] and the Gros Islet playing field in preparation for the cricket world cup, to utilise these grounds for practice purposes.
He noted that repairs to the road networks and adjoining infrastructural works will also be undertaken in the Beausejour area and its surroundings.
Tourism Minister Dr. Ernest Hilaire was elated that Saint Lucia has once again been chosen to host a global sporting event.
He said it ‘speaks volumes’ about the dexterity of the local organisers and their ability to showcase the best that Saint Lucia has to offer.
Hilaire has played a pivotal role in hosting past sporting events in the region, and brings along a wealth of experience and guidance, having also served in the management capacity of Cricket West Indies (CWI).
While acknowledging the input of the LOC members and other stakeholders, he declared: “We have a tremendous opportunity to showcase Saint Lucia at the highest level.”
A total of three venues in the USA and six in the Caribbean will be used for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 as the groups and fixtures for the ninth edition of the 20-over showcase were confirmed on January, 5.
Forty-one matches will be played in the Caribbean across six different islands, with semi-finals in Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana and the title decider scheduled to be played in Barbados on 29 June.