What is happening? Powell rues absence of cricket fixtures in Jamaica

By Sports Desk December 23, 2023
Rovman Powell Rovman Powell file
In the midst of celebrating a hard-fought 3-2 series win over England, West Indies Twenty20 captain Rovman Powell expressed disappointment about the of absence of international and Caribbean Premier League (CPL) matches in Jamaica and called on the government, particularly minister of sport Olivia "Babsy" Grange to address the issue.
 
It has been almost two years since West Indies last played Ireland in a One-day international contest in Jamaica last January, and four years since Jamaica Tallawahs last played at Sabina Park in 2019. This doesn't sit well with Powell, who yearns to once again grace the Jamaican fans.
 
"I am a Jamaican and I want to play in front of my home crowd, but for the last few years I haven't," Powell lamented during a post-match interview, after West Indies won the decisive contest against England by four wickets to clinch the five-match series at Brian Lara Cricket Academy on Thursday.
 
"West Indies Cricket Board (Cricket West Indies) and the Jamaica Government really have to sit down and have a conversation about that. Cricket has not played there for a long time...There are quite a few Jamaicans playing for West Indies now and no cricket has been there," Powell argued.
 
Along with Powell, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas and Brandon King, were also a part of the triumphant West Indies team.
 
To add insult to injury, Jamaica will not have a CPL franchise in next year's CPL tournament, as the Tallawahs are to be replaced by a yet-to-be-named franchise from Antigua and Barbuda. This would mark a return for another Leeward Islands franchise since the Antigua Hawksbills contested the first two CPL editions in 2013 and 2014.
 
 
Jamaica Tallawahs won CPL titles in 2013, 2016 and 2022, the latter under Powell's leadership.
 
"Even if you look at the CPL team, I heard reports that they are looking to move the CPL team from Jamaica. Jamaica is the biggest island in the Caribbean, a proud nation, a proud cricketing nation and for those things to be happening it is a little bit disappointing," Powell noted.
 
In fact, Sabina Park is currently used to host football matches, which is contrary to its name the 'cricket mecca' of Jamaica, an island that has produced many great West Indies players, such as George Headley, Lawrence Rowe, Michael Holding, Jeffrey Dujon, Courtney Walsh, Patrick Patterson, and in recent era, Chris Gayle, Russell, Powell and others.
 
Another Jamaican and West Indies stalwart Nehemiah Perry also expressed discontent with the happenings at Sabina Park, one of the oldest cricket grounds in the Caribbean, as it first hosted an international match almost 100 years ago. The first Test match played at Sabina Park was in 1930 between West Indies and England.
 
“I remember the days gone when we were talking about a Test series coming to the Caribbean; there were some grounds that you knew were going to get games like Sabina Park, Kensington Oval (Barbados), Queen’s Park Oval (Trinidad) etcetera," Perry said in a recent interview on the Mason and Guest Radio Show.
 
When a Test series was played in the Caribbean in the 1980s and 1990s, Jamaicans, Barbadians, Trinidadians, Guyanese and Antiguans could certainly look forward to seeing cricket played. Many other countries in the Caribbean have international cricket grounds now, so the traditional cricket venues in the region are no longer guaranteed matches. St Lucia, Grenada, Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis have all hosted international cricket regularly over the past decade.

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