CWI criticised for omitting Barbados from first-class champs venues
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):
President of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) and Cricket West Indies (CWI) director Conde Riley has expressed disappointment that the island will not host any matches in the West Indies Championship for the second straight year despite being the home of the defending champions.
He suggested that the decision demonstrates a lack of vision.
Former opening Test batsman Philo Wallace went further, suggesting that Barbados was "being ostracised".
Last month, CWI announced that matches in this year's first-class championship will be staged in Antigua, Grenada, and Trinidad.
Speaking on Mason and Guest radio show here on Tuesday, Riley said it was "disappointing" that the country was not selected to host any games, specifically given that Barbados Pride are defending champions and the crowds that usually turn out for games here.
"Barbados has a lot to offer and when things like this happen I realise why Cricket West Indies is where it is ... It tells a story - that they're not thinking," he said.
Wallace, who was also a guest on the show, said he was also surprised at Barbados' omission.
"I think it is a clear indication from Cricket West Indies that Barbados is being ostracised," the Barbadian said. "You cannot have Barbados as a leading nation in the region not ... host meaningful matches ... I would like to know from Cricket West Indies who sets out the fixtures and who decides where these games are being played."
Despite the disappointment, Riley said it would not stop Pride from successfully defending their title.
"We are going to prepare our guys and wherever they play we will still win it. Last year we played the majority of the games in Trinidad and we won.... I have no doubt that we will repeat as champions," he said.
The first two rounds of the West Indies Championship featuring the six territorial franchise teams - Barbados Pride, Guyana Harpy Eagles, Jamaica Scorpions, Leeward Islands Hurricanes, Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, and Windward Islands Volcanoes - will be contested from February 1 to February 11 at the National Cricket Stadium in Grenada, and the CCG and Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.
The last three rounds will be played from March 15 to April 1 at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Queen's Park Oval and Diego Martin Sports Complex in Trinidad.
Riley did not accept the explanation by CWI Manager of Operations Roland Holder that challenges related to intra-regional travel was the main factor in the selection of venues.
"You don't get from any part of the Caribbean without air transport," he said. "I don't know if the guys are going to swim to those other places or travel by boat but I know that if you want to get to Barbados, the same way that you get to Antigua or Grenada or St Vincent, you get to Barbados."