BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - WITH the official start of the International Cricket Council Under-19 Cricket World Cup still over a week away, teams have started arriving in the Federation for their group games and warm-up matches.
The tournament is set to bowl off on Friday, January 14 in Georgetown, Guyana and the following day at Warner Park and the Queens Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago.
Canada is the first team to have arrived in the Federation for the tournament.
That unit touched down this morning (Jan. 3) at RLB International Airport, ready and prepared to get their groove on in the tournament.
The 2022 junior tournament will be played across four venues, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Antigua and Barbuda.
In the Federation, a total of 10 group matches will be played at two venues, Warner Park and the Conaree Sports Club Ground, while Cayon, Mollineaux and St. Pauls will also be used for warm-up games.
On arrival in the Federation, all teams are expected to be in quarantine before they start their preparations for the tournament. This comes as the International Cricket Council and the local COVID-19 Task Force are undertaking the tournament within a bubble environment.
At a recently held press conference, it was disclosed that the tournament would be operating under strict protocols and if COVID-19 cases reach a high level, the ICC would mull pulling the plug on the event all together.
Though it has not yet started, concerns are rising locally as the number of cases of COVID-19 is on the rise after it was disclosed that health officials found the contagious Omicron Variant in the Federation.
This is the first time that the Under-19 Cricket World Cup is being played in the region, and St. Kitts and Nevis will be hosting the West Indies, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Scotland, Bangladesh, England, Australia and Sri Lanka.
The Ministry of Tourism is using this as a platform to further showcase the twin-island nation to the world, as part of its marketing drive. It is a further part of the Government’s collaborative thrust to mesh sports and tourism to drive the local product on the international stage.
The 16-team competition will feature Bangladesh, England, Canada and the United Arab Emirates form Group A, with debutants Uganda placed in Group B alongside India, South Africa and Ireland.
Group C comprises Pakistan, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Papua New Guinea and Group D sees host West Indies,
Australia, Sri Lanka and Scotland completed the tournament line-up in Group D after New Zealand withdrew due to the extensive mandatory quarantine restrictions for minors on their return home.