Call to shorten Sobers tourney

Randy Bennett,

Added 26 July 2013

A proposal is being made to shorten the length of the Garfield Sobers International Schools Cricket Tournament. The coach of new champions Powergen Penal Sports Club, Surujdath Mahabir, told WEEKENDSPORT that he felt it was necessary for the competition to be reduced. Mahabir said that having spent almost three weeks here, it had proved to be a very costly tour for his team. “I believe that one of the main reasons why the competition has seen a drop off from international teams is because of the high cost which is associated with the tour,” Mahabir said during an interview at Dover Beach Hotel yesterday. “It is also one of the primary reasons why more teams from Trinidad and around the Caribbean don’t make the trip to Barbados, because finding funding during these times can be extremely difficult.” The tournament, which is now in its 27th year, has seen a steady decline in the number of participating international teams in recent years. This year saw just one team from England compete in the annual tournament, a far cry from previous years in which up to six teams from England, and one from as far as South Africa participated. Mahabir, who is also the head coach of Powergen’s Youth and Development Programme, said one of the ways in which the length of the tournament could be reduced is by playing fewer games. He insisted that the seven games which his team played during the preliminary rounds were more than needed. “For a team to play seven matches on an overseas tour is a lot of games. “I think it would be better served if those matches were reduced to around five or so, and then maybe the semi-finals and the finals.” In addition, he suggested that the tournament coordinators should reserve at least one ground on weekends which could be used to host matches. He also acknowledged that there were too many rest days, saying that they could be put to better use. “The first week we were here, we didn’t play during the weekend, and we didn’t play during the weekend of the second week either,” he said. “Those days could probably have been used to play one or two games, and that would also help to reduce the length of the tour.” This year’s tournament ran from July 8 to 24.

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