President of the St. Vincent Cricket Association and vice president of Cricket West Indies Dr Kishore Shallow says that his association is managing the risk with regards to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic situation well so far for the Vincy Premier League (VPL). To date, COVID-19 has claimed over 328,000 lives globally.
Live cricket returned on Thursday when the T10 League in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines bowled off. The Caribbean country became the second country to host cricket since the COVID 19 Pandemic after Vanuatu, a Pacific nation, did it a title match back in March.
St. Vincent has registered a total of 18 Covid-19 positive cases till now, 10 of which have recovered. The matches have been opened to the public and it has worked well so far.
A total of 72 players have been picked by six franchises, namely Botanic Gardens Rangers, Grenadines Divers, Salt Pond Breakers, La Soufriere Hikers, Dark View Explorers, and Fort Charlotte Strikers.
According to Shallow: “We came up with this T10 franchise format because of the absence of sports content at this point, and thought that this brand of cricket would be enticing to cricket fans across the globe in a short duration.”
VPL will also become the first competition to ban the use of saliva to shine the ball, in line with the ICC ruling.
“No player has been allowed to use any saliva on the ball. We have had dedicated, assigned spaces around the players’ pavilion for teams so that they are not necessarily crowded together. All teams have their own space where they have been practising physical distancing. What we have been doing is managing the risk. So what we are doing is asking spectators to practise social and physical distancing. So they will be sitting at least a few seats apart. And because of the time the matches are taking place, we do not anticipate a massive crowd at the matches.”
Shallow confirmed that he had received the go-ahead from the local government and had also formally written to Cricket West Indies, apart from talking to CWI chief executive Johny Grave and CWI cricket operations manager Roland Holder.