Conference hosted to set out future aims
Representatives from 16-member nations were present in Bermuda for the ICC Americas annual regional conference over the last three days at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club.
Four ICC directors from the Americas were also at the conference as one of the main discussion points was funding for men’s and women’s cricket in the region from under 15s to senior men and women.
“It’s always a challenge to find funding because cricket is not the main sport in the Americas region,” said Cal Blankendal, the executive director at the Bermuda Cricket Board.
“It’s also a developing region, so a lot of the Central American and South American countries that are now starting to play cricket, like Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Peru, have football just like us, but on a larger scale.
“The plan for the conference was to try to come up with a strategic plan for the entire region.
“To have structured competitions, to have more inter-associate matches to grow the game and to get girls’ and women’s cricket started in all of these countries so that we can grow the game.
“ICC believes, just like Fifa [for football], that the next wave of cricket growth is through girls’ participation.”
Blankendal added; “In Bermuda we have a challenge, but in other countries like Brazil and Argentina, there is not a challenge, just a challenge to get people to understand the concept of cricket.
“It was a good conference. The main outcome was to come back in twelve months time and have a formal discussion about the direction of cricket in this region and have some structured objectives.
“One thing Bermuda wants is to get our boys’ teams playing more matches in the region.
“It doesn’t have to be at an ICC level, but we should be playing matches against Bahamas, Cayman, USA and Canada.
“Also, to start on girls’ and women’s teams, not just locally but also on an international level again.”
? The Bermuda Cricket Board is due to meet with the Bermuda Cricket Umpires Association over Sunday’s two One Communication Championship matches which were called off.
Willow Cuts, the First Division champions, only had two players show up at St John’s Field for their match against Somerset.
The Premier Division match between champions Southampton Rangers and Bailey’s Bay was called off by the umpires when the two captains did not attend the toss at St David’s.
“We are going to meet with the umpires so that we can find out what took place and if regulations were followed or not followed,” Blankendal said. “We don’t want to pre-empt anything until those discussions are held later this evening [yesterday].
“We have to take into consideration that there were some comments made to the media by one of our senior players.
“First, we have to respect people’s opinions and comments, and it shows that we probably should be talking to the clubs and also the captains to find out what they think is the right structure for competition for the season.
“We also have to be mindful that we have sponsors who are very generous and willing to support us.
“It’s good to find out whether there is an appetite for more matches and what structure.”
Blankendal added; “At the ICC conference, one of the discussions we are having in our region is whether it is feasible to still be playing 50 over matches or do we focus on T20 or hybrid.
“It’s similar to the discussions we are having in Bermuda about the longevity of the game, which format should we be playing and what is attractive to the players and also the sponsors and spectators.
“But we recognise for the youth league it is very good for development.
“How do we make sure that players develop but, at the same time, at the senior level that they are also able to participate?”
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