West Indies women’s cricketer Merissa Aguilleira believes women’s cricket in Trinidad and Tobago would take a step back, after the decision was made by Government to not support a bid to host matches in the 2018 T20 Women’s World Cup, which will be held in the Caribbean.
The Trinidad and Tobago Government did not meet the deadline date of bidding for matches last Friday. The Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs, after consulting with the Sports Company of TT, decided due to the economic situation of the country, it would not be feasible to host matches.
Aguilleira, an experienced wicketkeeper/batter for West Indies, is not pleased that she won’t be playing in front her Trinidadian fans. Aguilleira said, “I am very much disappointed with that. It was something that I have been wondering about, why is it not happening? Trinidad and Tobago is one of the powerhouses in women’s cricket. We have been doing extremely well in tournaments.”
The TT women’s cricket team has had some top performances in regional women’s cricket recently, including winning the Women’s Regional Super50 title earlier this year. Aguilleira said TT women’s cricket would be affected as youngsters would have liked to see their heroines play.
“I believe this would hold up the process in us going forward,” Aguilleira said.
“I believe a lot of the young people would have been looking forward to something like this, to actually see the international teams like the Australians and the English and even the West Indies team. People would have been looking forward to that and these young girls now would just have to sit down and look at it on television instead of coming out and seeing it live.”
Aguilleira said there has been a thrust to promote women’s cricket with TT successfully hosting tournaments recently such as a West Indies women’s series against Sri Lanka in October, and a ground-breaking franchise T20 tournament sponsored by Courts in May, featuring the region’s top players.
The Atlantic Ambassador said women’s cricket has been trending upward recently and hopes the authorities see development of women’s cricket as a top priority as TT is on the right course. “We know we have to keep things going to make sure that the development of women’s cricket in Trinidad and Tobago remains as it is, because it has been going rapidly. We have been performing well as a team and hopefully we could continue.
“Sri Lanka came down recently and the turnout we got from the fans and the people of Trinidad and Tobago (was great.) It would have been really good to have some of the games played here. This year we hosted the T20 Courts Grand Slam and it was so successful. I truly believe it would have had a great turnout for the games in the World Cup. Everybody was thinking that Trinidad is the place for games like this because we tend to bring the excitement.”
Despite TT not hosting matches, Aguilleira is confident the other Caribbean countries would step up to the challenge of hosting matches. “It is always good to play cricket in Trinidad and Tobago but I believe the other countries will pull it off as well, but there is no place like playing cricket in Trinidad and Tobago.”