Members of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB), the Government of Guyana and the public gathered at the Umana Yana, Kingston yesterday as Guyana was officially declared a host of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s World T20 tournament.
Honorary Secretary of the GCB, Anand Sanasie chaired the event and gave those present a glimpse of Guyana’s history as a host, pointing out that it has staged World Cup matches.
Sanasie praised the government, who he credited for their quick response and support towards bidding to have these games hosted here. Minister of Social Cohesion with responsibility for Sport, Dr George Norton helped to secure the bid to have Guyana along with Antigua and Barbuda and St. Lucia host this event.
Speaking on behalf of Cricket West Indies (CWI), Jennifer Nero noted the country’s rich value to the Caribbean and women’s cricket. She cited the opportunity Guyana has to be marketed to the world through the eyes of international media and tourists alike.
Going back into the history of women’s cricket and the West Indies women’s team, Nero said that “it was in 1934 that saw the start of international women’s cricket but it took 39 years before women in the West Indies played on the international stage in 1973. Thereafter the West Indies team took part in its first world cup in 1979 and now another 39 years later in 2018, we have the distinct privilege of hosting the first stand-alone women’s T20 tournament.”
She highlighted that this is the third ICC world cup hosted by CWI after the 2007 men’s world cup and the 2010 T20 world cup all in just over a decade. And with Guyana already hosting ICC tournament matches, the country has been presented to the world as filled with passionate fans and boasting a pristine environment.
As defending champions, the tournament’s hosting in the Caribbean is expected to bring young people to the sport and establish a genuine cricket path for women. Sanasie pointed out that Guyana are the reigning regional women’s champions.
ICC Chief Executive Dave Richards sent a video message in which he said that over 150 million viewers will be able to see the unique culture of the West Indies and see them defend their title at home.
Minister Norton, who was the recipient of a symbolic bat from Nero also ventured into the history of women in cricket comparing the lucrative nature of the sport now with athletes earning in excess of US$ 17 million while the game started with a few drums of ale as the prize.
It was noted that the T20 format has grown enormously. While there were just four matches in 2006, the following three years saw significant growth with six in 2007, 10 in 2008 and 30 in 2009 which also saw the first women’s world cup.
The Minister of Social Cohesion pledged to work along with the GCB, CWI and ICC in order to promote the sport to the highest level to cricket enthusiasts in Guyana and the world over.
Guyana will host warm up and preliminary matches which are expected to begin from November 4.