Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Barbados and T&T will battle for a winner-take-all purse of US $50,000 when All Sport Promotions stages its Asia vs The Caribbean Twenty20 tournament at the Queen’s Park Oval from September 6-8. This was revealed during a press conference at the venue’s President’s Box in St Clair yesterday. The event, which is being sponsored primarily by the Ministry of Tourism, will serve as a warm up for the Red Force’s campaign in the upcoming Champions League Twenty20 in South Africa in October. Two matches will be played each day in a round robin format. Bangladesh’s T20 team is ranked one above Australia at eighth in the current ICC Rankings and features stars such as attacking batsman Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan, the world’s top rated ODI allrounder. In the last five years, Afghanistan has moved from the ICC’s Division Five to its Division One and recently booked a spot in next month’s ICC World Twenty20 by reaching the final of the Qualifier tournament in March.
Speaking yesterday, Director at All Sport Promotions Anthony Harford said he was eager to see how T&T would fare against the two teams. “Bangladesh was always our first choice. In assessing where T&T is, we felt that they would be the best possible opponents. We were considering several countries as the second team, and in the end we decided that there must be something special about Afghanistan. It’s very rare in sport for a team to develop as rapidly as they have over the last five years.” He added that the company was planning to stage a similar tournament at the Oval each year. “We are not doing it this year with the intention of creating a huge profit because we understand the challenges we face. The intent is to deliver a good product that is well managed, looks good and that the public favours.” First Vice-president of the T&T Cricket Board Dudnath Ramkissoon confirmed that the national team would include stars such as Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine, who would be taking time off from a West Indies training camp to attend. He added that the tournament would be in keeping with the Ministry of Tourism’s plans to utilise Twenty20 cricket as a means by which to raise the country’s international profile. “The T20 brand is so strong around the world that the Ministry can use cricket to help promote T&T. I was in India last year during the Champions League and was shocked at the tremendous support that the T&T team got at all the venues.”
He continued: “One of the commentators in the IPL said recently ‘If you want to learn how to play T20 cricket, go down to the Caribbean to T&T and find out what they do, because they’re doing it right.’ And that speaks to the work that we have been doing.” The Ministry will be covering all four teams’ flying expenses, which are expected to take up $1.3m of the tournament’s $3.4m budget. The squads will also be staying in the Hyatt Regency. On September 5, Bangladesh will take on a Tobago XI in an exhibition match at Shaw Park. Tickets, valued at $100 per day and $250 for a three-day pass, will be available at Kenny’s Sports Center locations nation wide and Ramsingh’s Sports World outlets in Couva and Chaguanas. There will be five spectator prizes each night with the top prize being a holiday for two to the UK.
Barbados vs Bangladesh; 3.45 pm
T&T vs Afghanistan; 7.15 pm
Bangladesh vs Afghanistan; 3.45 pm
T&T vs Barbados; 7.15 pm
Barbados vs Afghanistan; 3.45 pm
T&T vs Bangladesh