Successful Busta Series to get bigger
The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is "extremely pleased" with the interest and excitement generated by the new format of the Busta Cricket Series and are already planning to extend foreign participation next year.
Speaking in the wake of the Busta Cup finale last Monday, the WICB's Chief Executive Officer Gregory Shillingford said the Board was happy with the spectator appeal and intrigue which this season's two-tiered system has created throughout the region.
"Part of our mandate is to develop West Indies cricket for the enjoyment of our people and other stakeholders and I think what has happened this year has done this and has vindicated our decision to have a two-in-one competition and to increase the number of teams involved by inviting England "A" and West Indies "B" to participate.
"The new format of the Busta Cricket Series has certainly stirred the kind of excitement and debate that we have been accustomed to in Caribbean cricket. Competition for the Busta Cup was very keen and it was not until the last day of the last round of matches that the winners were known.
"There was also a lot of intrigue regarding the four semi-final places for the Busta International Shield, and fans were paying attention to different games to find out what was happening," said Shillingford.
WICB President, Pat Rousseau, disclosed that plans are afoot to invite two international teams as well as a West Indies "B" side to participate in the 2002 regional series.
"We are committed to making this tournament as competitive as possible and, on the basis of discussions with other ICC (International Cricket Council) members in Australia, we are proposing to invite to two international teams, plus the West Indies B side, to play in the Busta Cricket Series for 2002," said Rousseau.
The President also expressed delight with the record-breaking batting performances during the Busta Cup, adding that this augurs well for the upcoming home tour versus South Africa.
"It is pleasing to see the competitive spirit among Caribbean batsmen vying for places on the West Indies team to play against South Africa. I hope this rivalry among batsmen continues into the Busta International Shield."
The Busta Cup culminated with Barbados (57 points) being crowned regional champions ahead of Guyana (57 points also) by virtue of more wins during the tournament. England A finished third on 54 points and Jamaica copped the last semi-final berth by finishing fourth on 51 points. The Leeward Islands (48), Trinidad and Tobago (38), West Indies B (20) and the Windward Islands (0) completed the standings.
Meanwhile, the WICB is pleased to announce the schedule for the semi-finals of the Busta International Shield. Barbados will host Jamaica from February 23-26 at Kensington Oval while England A will face Guyana from February 24-27 at Bourda (Guyana). The latter match is starting a day later because the Mashramani Festival takes place in Guyana on Friday, February 23.
Umpires Dalton Holder and Basil Morgan will officiate in the Barbados match (with Halley Moore as the stand-by) while Edward Nicholls and Goaland Greaves will stand in the Guyana game with D. Somwaru as relief umpire.
The winners of these two matches will oppose each other in the Busta International Shield final from March 2-5.