WICB prez announces US plans, tour

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has announced plans to popularize and promote the sport of cricket in New York during a press briefing at City Hall in Manhattan on Jan. 12.

WICB President Dave Cameron said as one of the most popular sports in the world, especially in the Caribbean, they hope to build a cricket stadium in the city to increase playership and to also accommodate fans of the sport in the city’s large Caribbean community. The board is trying to garner support from local leaders to push for the construction of a cricket stadium to house future games.

“We see the United States as a potential host for a world event in the period of 2023 to 2031,” said Cameron. “My objective is to try to help and to identify a suitable area and support them in bringing cricket to the state of New York and to build a stadium.”

With the support from councilmen Alan Maisel (D–Marine Park) and Jumaane Williams (D–East Flatbush) in particular, they can lobby on behalf of the board with the Parks Department for building a stadium.

Cameron also announced the West Indies upcoming tour with Pakistan. The West Indies will play Pakistan on March 25 and 26 at Central Broward Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This comes after a recent victory for the team.

But even as the West Indies cricket ranking has fallen over the years, their recent efforts show their improvement.

“Our performance has been better — we beat Pakistan for the first time in 21 years and it was the first time we beat a team ranked higher than us,” he said. “We have made tremendous strides in the last four years.”

And Cameron promises to see programs for cricket for children and they want to see it in schools, in the Caribbean and locally. He noted that the lack of cricket’s popularity has denied them some advantages in that area as opposed to other sports.

“Part of the challenge with cricket now versus other sports in the region is that it is the least attractive in terms of educational opportunities,” said Cameron. “The top advantages are track and field and basketball because they know they can get scholarships to the United States.”

Cameron said it may be longer to implement programs for men, but the board is aiming to get things going for their female counterparts, as they want to lobby for college opportunities for women’s cricket, which is easier to obtain, he said.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com.

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