CHIEF Secretary Ancil Dennis has major plans for cricket in Tobago. Dennis wants a cricket facility on the island that can host Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 matches, international matches and regional matches.
In a video posted on the Chief Secretary's Bago T10 Cricket Blast Facebook page, Dennis said, "We will pursue the establishment of an international cricketing facility on this island in the very near future. When we have tournaments like the CPL and even international teams touring, whether at Test level or even at regional tournaments, Tobago can be in a position where we could have some of that high-level cricket played on the island as well."
Dennis was speaking about his plans at a media conference leading up to a T10 exhibition match between the Chief Secretary XI and an All Star XI at the Cyd Gray Sporting Complex in Roxborough, on Friday. The match was played before the final of the Chief Secretary's Bago T10 Cricket Blast. Dennis's team featured president of the Tobago Cricket Association Kerwin John, West Indies white-ball captain and Trinbago Knight Riders captain Kieron Pollard, TKR vice-captain Dwayne Bravo, Darren Bravo and Nicholas Pooran.
In a follow-up interview with Newsday, Dennis said, "Having a world-class cricketing facility in Tobago could facilitate a number of things. Of course, the added benefit of promoting the destination, driving more visitors...in addition to that it will serve as an encouragement for our young cricketers as well getting first-hand exposure to an international facility, first-hand exposure to top-class facilities.
"Overall, I think something like that will increase our impetus in terms of developing the young cricketers on the island and developing the sport in TT on a whole."
Dennis said these plans are in the early stages, but the Chief Secretary is determined to make it a reality.
"We have not started any designs or anything as yet, but there is some intent and there has been intent for the longest while, but I intend to take it to the next level by starting to identify specific areas that we could develop."
Dennis is passionate about the sport having represented the country at the youth level.
"I played for TT Under-15 in 2001 and 2002, plus I represented Tobago at all the levels from Under-13 right up to the senior level." Tobago has produced a number of national senior cricketers including Navin Stewart and Lincoln Roberts.
Allrounder Iraq Thomas has also impressed and recently earned a contract at Congresbury Cricket Club in England.
Earlier this year, Joshua James was a member of the West Indies Under-19 team. Roberts also played one Test match for West Indies in 1999.
At the media conference, Pollard said the Bago T10 is allowing the cricketers in Tobago to express themselves and it gives them a chance to be recognised by the TT cricket selectors. Dwayne wants the tournament to continue to promote the island and also said sport is an avenue to lead youngsters in a positive direction.