PRESIDENT of Queen’s Park Cricket Club (QPCC) Dr Nigel Camacho says the Queen’s Park Oval in St Clair will be ready if needed to host matches in the 2024 T20 World Cup, after Dominica pulled out on Thursday.
Dominica had been initially selected as a host venue, along with six other Caribbean countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and TT. The US will also host matches in Florida, New York and Texas.
Matches in Trinidad, as of now, will only be held at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba. The International Cricket Council (ICC) said the reason for only using Brian Lara Cricket Academy is to avoid moving cameras back and forth between the venues, which can be costly.
The Dominica government told Cricket West Indies (CWI) renovations at Windsor Park Sports Stadium will not be completed in time, and decided to pull out.
A media release by CWI on Thursday said, “The Ministry of Culture, Youth, Sports, and Community Development in Dominica confirmed that, despite the country’s eagerness to host matches and tangible efforts to date, they have evaluated proposed time lines after consultation with their contractors. After careful consideration, it was determined that there will not be adequate time to fulfil all the obligations outlined in the memorandum of understanding between CWI and the government of Dominica.”
Camacho told Newsday QPCC would welcome the opportunity to host matches. He said, “It has been an active discussion with CWI about Queen’s Park’s involvement for the entire tournament, so that is an ongoing sensitive situation controlled by ICC.
“Ultimately what CWI has indicated is that the final decision lies with the recommendations from the ICC committee stationed in the Caribbean to make the recommendations on which venues can actually host games during the World Cup.”
Camacho said the Oval would have to do some renovations, but they can be completed by June, when the World Cup is scheduled to start.
“They have requested that QPCC make certain changes. We have not had any major changes since the 2007 World Cup (held in the West Indies). We have maintained the facility well, but obviously it is getting older, so we would have to make a few changes if we want to be in line for hosting actual World Cup games...if we were called upon we would be ready to host games.”
The score board and the replay screen would need to be renovated, Camacho said.
Before Dominica pulled out as a venue, QPCC said it wanted to be involved in the World Cup by hosting warm-up matches and have a fan-fest with big screens and fun activities.
Queen’s Park last hosted international cricket in July when West Indies and India played to a draw in the second Test match of the multi-format tour.
The Queen’s Park Oval has hosted memorable matches in almost 100 years of hosting international cricket. Many would remember 1971, when an inexperienced Sunil Gavaskar scored a century and a double century for India in the fifth Test match of the series – a feat later immortalised in song by calypsonian Lord Relator.
In 1994, legendary fast bowler Sir Curtly Ambrose grabbed 6/24 as England were dismantled for 46 in a Test match.
Camacho also said QPCC has been in contact with the Government about helping it to host matches.
“They were clear and adamant that Queen’s Park Oval is one of the most iconic venues in the world and they were recommending to CWI that it be involved in the World Cup.”
Camacho said QPCC has a cordial relationship with the TT Cricket Board and is in constant contact with local cricket president Azim Bassarath, who is also the CWI vice-president.
Other than World Cup matches, the Oval is in line to host international matches in 2024. “Cricket fans of TT, particularly cricket fans who enjoy the Queen’s Park Oval, are going to be in for a feast of cricket next year May, June, July and into August, because you have CPL after that.”
CWI CEO Johnny Grave said the regional board wants to continue working with Dominica in the future, despite its not being able to host matches next year.
In the CWI media release, Grave said, “We acknowledge the dedication of the Government of Dominica in preparing to host matches as a part of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024. While recognising their commitment, we note the reasons stated for the decision that has been made and understand the position.”