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New format for Caribbean T20

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New format for Caribbean T20

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ST JOHN’S – Next year’s Caribbean Twenty20 Tournament, starting on January 6 in Trinidad and Tobago, will be played under a new format, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) announced this week.
The marquee annual West Indies Cricket Board tournament will now feature only the seven regional teams playing a total of 23 matches.
They will contest a round-robin preliminary competition, with a new route for the teams to reach the Grand Final on January 20 at the Beausejour Cricket Ground in St Lucia.
The team finishing with the highest number of points after all of the preliminary matches will automatically qualify for the Grand Final. The second and third placed teams will then play off for the other spot in the final.
The winner of the tournament will qualify for a place in next year’s Champions League Twenty20.
“This format will allow the regional teams to increase the number of matches in a form of the game which has become very popular around the world, and of which we are now World champions,” said WICB manager, cricket operations, Roland Holder.
“It was previously four, but now there are six matches each. This is in keeping with the WICB’s mandate to increase the amount of matches that teams are playing at the regional level.”
Reigning champions Trinidad and Tobago will face long-standing rivals Jamaica in the opening match of next year’s CT20 on home soil at the Queen’s Park Oval on January 6, following the official opening ceremony.
There will be two matches played on the succeeding days of the tournament before the play-off on January 19, and the Grand Final on  January 20. All matches will be broadcast live on ESPN.
The play-off and the final will be preceded by Twenty20 Internationals between West Indies Women and South Africa Women.
Holder also said the WICB was fulfilling its mandate to provide its players with more cricket with the change of format to the Regional Super50 (RS50) tournament.
“We have returned to what happened in the past. In the last two or three seasons, by virtue of us playing the RS50 in October/November, we have had several matches rained out. We were in an unwelcome situation where a team made it into the semi-finals having played one match, which severely affected the competitiveness of the tournament,” he said.
The WICB agreed at a recent directors’ meeting to play next year’s RS50 simultaneously with the Regional 4-Day Tournament (R4D).
Next year’s RS50 is set to begin on Thursday, February 7, with the R4D, starting two days later.
Holder, a former Barbados captain and West Indies batsman, said the format and playing conditions would also allow territories that had floodlit stadiums to contest matches under lights.
He said the regional governing body had also made provision to allow teams to change their playing squads between the four-day and 50-overs competitions.
“They can bring players in to adjust to the different forms of the game. We have recognized that there is still specialist cricket around, and the directors in their wisdom have made the decision that territories will be allowed to replace up to three players at the WICB’s cost.”
Territorial boards may, however, make additional changes at their cost. (CMC)