IN AN effort to reduce the spread of covid19, the Urban Development Corporation of TT (Udecott) barred spectators from attending day-three of the West Indies Four-Day Championship match between TT Red Force and Windward Islands Volcanoes at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba on Saturday.
Although four-day cricket is historically known to attract few spectators, Udecott took this precautionary measure to safeguard both players and fans. Cricketers, team staff, officials and media were the only certified attendees to witness the Red Force’s comfortable but quiet victory.
Udecott chairman Noel Garcia stated, "It’s part of our corporate social responsibility and keeping a social distance. All the rumours are flying around and we just want to make sure people don’t expose themselves to the virus.”
On Friday, president of the TT Cricket Board Azim Bassarath declared all regional and domestic matches will continue until Sunday until an official decision is made by the region’s governing body, Cricket West Indies (CWI).
Hours later, acting on the recommendation of its medical advisory committee, CWI took a decision to suspend all CWI tournaments and face-to-face meetings from Monday, for a minimum of 30 days.
CWI chief medical officer Dr Israel Dowlat stated, “The health and safety of our players, officials and staff, are of paramount importance to CWI and we have advised the board of directors to take proactive policy steps to decrease the growing risk of contamination and spread of the virus”.
Since the outbreak, there has been a global increase in travel restrictions to contain the spread of coronavirus. The visiting Windward Islands team are however scheduled to return home on Monday, according to a TT Cricket Board representative. They will have one additional free-day to relax since Saturday’s loss eliminated the final day of play on Sunday.
After Saturday’s match, players and coaches were pleased with the decision taken by the sport’s governing body but were a bit skeptical to take to the field amidst the cancellation of multiple sporting events on both a national and global scale.
Seasoned all-rounder Jason Mohammed shared his thoughts on Saturday’s game and admitted the seriousness of the coronavirus had placed a slight damper on the team’s competitive spirit.
“It was a bit difficult this morning (Saturday) to come out because we heard everything was shut down and it was tough to get out of our minds. It is what it is though because we have to control the spread of the virus not only in TT but on a global scale as well. But in the end, we were still able to go out there, do the job and come back with a winning result,” said Mohammed.
Meanwhile, Windward Islands Volcanoes manager/coach Fernix Thomas shared similar sentiments on this weekend’s game.
“With the pandemic, there was a cloud of doubt surrounding today’s game, if it would continue, and then up to this morning, we were told that we had to leave the stadium and then news came that we have to continue playing,” he said.