Cricket legends Brian Lara and Shane Warne are among a field of international players confirmed to take part in the upcoming Twenty20 for 50 Festival, which will be staged at the Queen’s Park Oval from August 24 to 26. This was revealed during a press conference at the venue’s President’s Box, St Clair yesterday. The quadrangular tournament will feature the T&T and Jamaican national teams as well as two All Star XIs led by Lara and former T&T skipper Daren Ganga. Several more players from Australia, England, New Zealand and possibly India will be participating, though the organisers were hesitant to name them yesterday. They did admit that attempts to book Sachin Tendulkar had been unsuccessful. The brainchild of Infinite Possibilities Limited, the event has been budgeted at approximately $6 million, of which the government will cover $2 million. Other sponsors include Carib Brewery Limited and bmobile. The champion team will walk away with a pot of US $25,000.
Speaking yesterday, Ganga said the festival would be in keeping with the central themes of the country’s 50th Anniversary of Independence celebrations, highlighting the areas of culture, community and sport. “There is no better vehicle for celebrating T&T than cricket. What other medium is there that encapsulates elements of our history, links us to our diaspora, demonstrates our competitiveness and fighting spirit, showcases our talents and rallies our population in a united front? We truly are a nation forged through the love of the sport,” he said. Addressing the launch over the phone, Lara, who is currently overseas, said he was looking forward to the festival and had already begun training in the gym and nets in preparation. As part of the celebrations, the T&T Cricket Board will be honouring 50 contributors to the sport. Tickets, priced at $100, will be available at the Oval as well as Sports and Games outlets in Trincity Mall, Price Plaza, Gulf City, San Fernando and Scarborough. Children under the age of 10 will be granted free admittance. Two matches will be played daily at 2.30 pm and 7 pm with entertainment segments both before and between.