By copping five matches in an English cricket team tour from January, Barbados has rebounded from the loss suffered when it failed to get to host a game in the Women’s Cricket World Cup competition.
The one Test, two One-Day Internationals and two practice matches that Barbados hauled in out of the 13-match schedule is somewhat of a coup for the island because the other games are spread out across three Eastern Caribbean states.
St. Lucia will host one Test, one One-Day International and a Twenty20; Grenada will have two One-Day Internationals; St. Kitts will see two Twenty20s; and one Test will play in Antigua.
The Barbados cricket windfall stands in sharp contrast to the situation earlier this year when it was revealed that the island will not have a game in the Women’s World Cup that is being hosted by the Caribbean in November with all matches to be played in Guyana, St. Lucia and Antigua.
The past government that was voted out of office in the May 24 elections drew severe criticism for not moving to financially back the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) in its bid for some of those World Cup matches, especially with the Caribbean girls being the defending champions.
The Barbados TODAY newspaper reported BCA President Conde Riley saying that the turnaround in getting the largest share of the English tour was an achievement owed to support of the current government.
“Obviously, we are very pleased to have this volume of cricket in Barbados. We all know how significant England touring the region is. In addition to the international matches, there will be practice matches leading up to both the Test match and the One-Day Internationals. We have had positive assistance from government and we are really satisfied with where we at with respect to the tour in January,” Riley said.
English national cricket team tours of the Caribbean are regarded as revenue bonanzas not only because of the worldwide attention it grabs but also owing to the plane loads of English supporters — notably among them the Barmy Army — who descend on the region presenting a tourism windfall.
Riley pointed out that the island would see a spin-off in commerce for restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, vendors, taxi operators and other players in the tourism industry.
But that deluge of Britishers onto Barbados and other islands usually creates some sourness among locals because advance sale of tickets overseas on many occasions results in Caribbean fans being left out the grounds.
This was very obvious in the 2015 tour when sections of Kensington Oval in Barbados took on the appearance and atmosphere of a game in England.
“We are going to block areas in every stand at Kensington to ensure that we have a local presence at all the games,” Riley told the Barbados Nation newspaper.
Nonetheless he advised Barbadians to get their tickets early.
“I want to say to locals, start to buy your tickets once they go online or the ticket office opens. Just start to get your tickets in the areas that would be allocated to you in the Greenidge & Haynes, 3Ws, Hall & Griffith and Hewitt and Inniss [stands].”
The English tour begins with a practice match in Barbados on Jan. 15 and ends with a Twenty20 match in St. Kitts on March 10.