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CLOBI Cup scaled down

Kenmore Bynoe

CLOBI Cup scaled down

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The CLOBI Cup, which has thrilled cricketing fans at Kensington Oval with former greats of the game over the past two years, has been hard-hit by the harsh economic times.
The 2011 edition, which will launch on November 11, has been scaled down to a CLOBI Challenge between the West Indies and England.
Chairman of the Cricket Legends of Barbados, Ian Bradshaw, told a media conference yesterday at Legends Headquarters, Herbert House, that the worldwide financial crisis scuttled bids to move the event from a four-nation competition to six or even eight teams.
The disappointing news matched the weather and the number of empty chairs at the conference was in stark contrast to previous sessions where legends of the status of Sir Everton Weekes, Charlie Griffith and Seymour Nurse were accompanied by a high turn-out of sponsors and Government officials.
Former West Indies players who attended yesterday’s launch were Legends director, Rev. Wes Hall; Collis King, Alvin Greenidge, Vasbert Drakes, Sherwin Campbell and Floyd Reifer.
Flanked by Hall and chairman of the Barbados Tourism Authority Adrian Elcock, Bradshaw said that in spite of the difficulties, and due to the interest of the fans, it was critical to still stage a competition to maintain the CLOBI status.
However, in a session of shadow boxing and hand-holding, the head table seemed more prepared to promote the BTA’s plans and objectives than provide cricketing information.
 However, some meaningful news was provided when Elcock disclosed that Barbados had linked a level of sponsorship with English Premier League football giants Chelsea which will see Barbados being advertised on the LED boards and banners at the ground as well as having a link to Chelsea’s website.
Even so, Elcock was just as adroit as Chelsea star footballers Frank Lampard or Didier Drogba in dancing around the question as to how much the sponsorship was costing Barbados.
Attempts will be made to bolster the interest of fans for the CLOBI Challenge 2011, with three nights of action being preceded by fun events.
On November 11 there will be a Back In Time Night, on the 13th there will be a Family Day, and on the finals night, November 15, there will be a Pub Night.  
The financial situation means that there will be no live television coverage as obtained for the previous two editions and the big payday for the winners has been diluted into a trophy.  
The entrance fee will be $15, while children under 12 accompanied by an adult will be admitted free.
Elcock said that in spite of the cutbacks the BTA will still need to contribute $600 000 to the venture, while Hall disclosed that the television coverage had cost over $900 000 for the first two events.
Both Hall and Bradshaw indicated that moves to get world record-holder Brian Lara to take part were not successful as Lara would be occupied with a promotional tour to India with the Trinidad and Tobago government.
However, it is hoped that the likes of Michael Vaughan, Phil Defreitas and Graham Hick of England, along with Carl Hooper, Courtney Walsh and Curtley Ambrose, would heighten the interest of the fans.
England Masters will be captained by Vaughan and his team will comprise Hick, Defreitas, Gladstone Small, Mark Alleyne, Neil Fairbrother, John Emburey, Dean Headley, Devon Malcolm, Paul Nixon, Mark Ramprakash, Craig White and Shaun Udal.
The Walsh-led West Indies team shows a younger squad with the likes of keeper Courtney Browne, Campbell and Reifer still active at the local Division 1 level.  
The other members are: Ambrose, Hooper, Mervyn Dillon, Drakes, Wavell Hinds, King, Rawl Lewis, Nehemiah Perry and Stuart Williams.