“T&T can step up to host matches if needed” – Azim Bassarath confident that host CPL and T20 World Cup 2024

Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board president and Cricket West Indies vice-president Azim Bassarath is confident that T&T can step up to host Caribbean Premier League or T20 World Cup matches next year if necessary.

With Dominica pulling out as a host venue for the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean next year and with tensions increasing between Venezuela and Guyana over the disputed Essequibo region, Bassarath said T&T could fill any void if needed.

Dominica was initially short-listed as one of seven Caribbean nations set to host matches in the June 4-30 tournament which will be co-hosted by West Indies and the USA.

The other short-listed Caribbean nations include Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Meanwhile, Guyana has a three-year deal to host the Republic Bank CPL final until 2024. The CPL organizers are hoping to follow through with their plans for next year; however, the recent developments with the border dispute with Venezuela could prove a significant distraction.

The territorial dispute between the two South American nations was reignited when the Venezuelan government of Nicolas Maduro, through a referendum on December 3, claimed sovereignty over the Essequibo territory, which accounts for two-thirds of Guyana and lies near big offshore oil deposits.

Asked on Monday about the recent developments, Bassarath said,

“I think T&T can step up to host matches (CPL and T20 World Cup) if needed. We did it in the past, in 1998, when there was a Test match in Jamaica and in a few days we put things together and hosted the other Test match here.”

The series he was referring to was between West Indies and England, in 1998, when the first Test at Sabina Park, Jamaica was abandoned after 61 deliveries because of the unsafe nature of the pitch. It was the first time in the 121-year-long history of Test cricket that a match had to be abandoned due to the nature of the pitch.

The Queen’s Park Oval was able to host an additional Test to make up for the abandoned game and the West Indies went on to win the series 3-1.

“We are very capable. We’ve done it before and I am quite sure, if required, we can fill the void if anything were to happen in Guyana. But, of course, we are hoping the dispute will be settled amicably and there would not be the need for such contingencies,” Bassarath told the Trinidad express 

Meanwhile, CPL CEO Pete Russell said for now, there are no plans to shift the final from Guyana.

He said the border dispute between the two countries is not something that CPL will get involved in.

“Hopefully, the two governments will have long enough to figure it out; but there are no plans (right now) to not play the game in Guyana,” Russell stated.

The CPL usually played within a window between August and September.

Guyana President Irfaan Ali has agreed to have bilateral talks with Maduro on Thursday in St Vincent; however, he made it clear that Guyana’s position is non-negotiable that Essequibo belongs to Guyana.

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