Firstly, let me wish everyone a great day of Horseracing on this Carnival Wednesday racing programme.
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T&TCB wants England Test
Fans in T&T may get an opportunity to see England battle the West Indies in a Test match next year, as the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) has decided to throw in their hat for one of the three Test matches.
Recently the WICB responded to a backlash over its allocation of Tests for the series against England in April 2015 by holding a fresh bidding process for potential hosts.
WICB had originally decided to allocate the three Tests to Guyana, Grenada and Jamaica. Officials in Barbados, which has proved a popular destination for England cricket supporters and recently hosted three well-attended T20s between England and West Indies, are understood to have been particularity irked by the decision.
An official of the WICB responded by explaining that there is a list of criteria which the WICB has outlined to the territories. He added that the winning bids will be determined based on an assessment of these criteria and will not automatically be the highest bids.
The criteria involve a number of general and specific areas including but not limited to pitch and outfield, spectator capacity, accommodation, ground travel, logistics and airlift.
With many of the Caribbean nations heavily reliant upon tourism, the allocation of an England Test is especially valuable. No other country brings as many travelling supporters and their willingness to embrace the local hotels, restaurants and bars provides a meaningful boost to the local economies.
Yesterday the CEO of the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) Suruj Ragoonath sent out an email to the entire executive of the board, indicating the interest to bid and when they meet on Thursday evening at a specially arranged board meeting, the matter will be discussed.
T&T has been starved of Test cricket for a while because of the number of world standard facilities that have been constructed in the region. The WICB faces a situation of having to spread the game throughout to satisfy all their stakeholders and T&T has missed out on Test play frequently.
New Zealand will tour the region next month and T&T has been given the second Test from June 16 to 21. It is understood that the TTCB wants piece of the England action because it would bring in greater revenue, in the form of attendance and tourists coming to T&T.
There is now a major thrust by the government of T&T to boost sports tourism and it is with this in mind that the TTCB will be looking for lucrative matches.