This week the 2020 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 tournament started and TT fans are once again enjoying one of their passions.
That love of cricket has caught the attention of the Venezuelan refugee community in TT.
Baseball or football are the sporting disciplines that attract the most followers in Spanish-speaking countries, but in Venezuela, baseball is the one that shuts down the country each season.
Edimer Ordaz, one of the organisers of softball in TT, commented on similarities between cricket and baseball.
"They are two sports very similar in the way of hitting a pitched ball, running or even uniforms with caps – although the rules are different and confuse Venezuelans," he said.
“The Trinidadians' passion for cricket is wonderful. They go to the stadiums, they watch it on TV, they play it in the streets since they were children. It is a tradition. When there is an important game it reminds me of the baseball games in Venezuela between Magallanes and Caracas, the two teams with the greatest fan base and that paralyse the entire country,” acknowledges Ordaz.
Moisés Mcnish is a soccer coach with dual nationality and is aware that cricket is a sport that requires patience.
"For the taste of Venezuelans, it is very slow, unlike baseball, which is faster, but the emotion it generates in the locals is very beautiful," Mcnish said..
José Manzano, also a specialist in softball (another sport with similarities), said that in his years living in TT he has learned a little about the rules of cricket.
"I like the T20 mode, where the game lasts less time, I also know that there is a rivalry in the region between Trinidad and Guyana, as well as in the international games between the West Indies, which is the selection of the Caribbean area, and the English, Australians and the Indian team. It's an interesting sport,” he said.
Another Venezuelan athlete in TT is Jorge Nieves, a professional volleyball player, who admires the way the locals talk about cricket.
“I can see that Trinidadians feel a great sense of belonging to this sport. They are committed for each season and are very aware of the results.
"I don't understand much about cricket – I only know two rules of the game, I hope I can understand it 100 per cent one day and be able to enjoy a game in the stadium,” he said.
In Venezuela, both amateur and professional sports have a large fan base. At every baseball, softball, soccer, basketball or volleyball game, the stadiums fill with fans.
However, for the immigrants in TT it has not been easy to attend a game, especially cricket. Ordaz has lived in TT for 20 years, but has never been to a professional cricket match.
“There are many things that prevent Venezuelans from going to a professional stadium. Firstly, the ignorance of the days of games, leagues, teams, and before that the legal issue prevented it, since immigrants did not have a legal identification that would allow them calmly to go to an event here. And finally, the financial issue. It is not easy for a refugee to go to a professional cricket game with the expense that this implies," he said..
But at the end of the pandemic, when the cricket grounds open up to fans, perhaps Venezuelans too will support local teams, playing some street games and share with the people of TT their love for the sport.