In a surprise announcement, the Minister for Sports, Samal Duggins has announed that a significant degree of involvement of St. Kitts and Nevis’ in the preparations for the International Cricket Council Men’s Twenty20 Cricket World Cup in 2024 is still being determined, as it is one that would offer positive economic spinoffs, not to mention excitement for fans locally who would get the opportunity to see top cricket stars in action at close quarters.
Up to now, it had been thought that St. Kitts, along with Jamaica was having no part of the competition. Jamaica had said that meeting the infrastructure requirements was simply too expensive to make it worthwhile to make a bid.
Duggins, explained that a conscious decision was made not to bid to host group matches during the tournament which will be held in the Caribbean and the United States in June 2024.
Instead, he said, that there are negotiations regarding St. Kitts hosting warmup matches for the tournament.
He said that discussions are progressing well and St. Kitts and Nevis very likely will be the home base for between four and ten teams.
Each team will play two matches and is likely to stay on the islands anywhere from 10 to 21 days depending on scheduling. Travelling with the teams will be family, coaching staff, cricket officials, media and fans, generating economic activity in the twin-island Federation.
Duggins did not specify which hotel the groups were likely to stay at, but clearly a large resort hotel, or more than one location, would be required.
The cost/benefit decision to participate in the CWC tournament also took into acount that the government is already spending millions of dollars to upgrade sporting facilities around the islands, for example to facilitate track and field, football, volleyball, netball, and more.
The minister said that the premier track and field facility, the Kim Collins Athletics Stadium is desperately in need of repair. The Mundo track needs to be replaced after years of neglect and major renovations on the stands, media section, gym and bathrooms are already underway, he noted.
The minister added that a report from the CWC organizers identified that major repairs would be needed on the cricket facilities to bring them in line with the minimum standards required to host tournament matches.
The deadline to complete all of the renovations on the cricket infrastructure in time for CWC was not practical and this also factored into the decision to negotiate for warmup matches.
“The same teams will be here, the same teams will be playing, the same venue will be used, the same media coverage, and the same, if not better economic spinoffs for less input [by the government],” Honourable Duggins indicated, highlighting the general thought process.
The minister said that investments will continue to be made in the cricket infrastructure. There are plans for St. Kitts and Nevis to host THE SIXTY in 2024, and welcome teams from the United Kingdom as their home base for training among others.