Monday, August 4, 2014

Wanna Watch Some Cricket??

Cricket -- the mysterious baseball "like" game that was brought to and is still played in almost all of Britain's former colonial states is actually a very interesting game.

St. Kitts happens to be one of the islands where cricket is still somewhat popular and many people are trying to reignite the spark the sport once had here. You will see importance of cricket to St. Kitts as you walk around in downtown Basseterre. Just slightly northeast of Cayon Street (The Main North to South street running parallel to the Caribbean Sea.) in town you'll notice a green and white stadium. This stadium takes up nearly as much space as Independence Square, The Pelican Shopping Mall, and The General Post Office combined.

This stadium is Warner Park, named after the first English settler of St. Kitts, Sir Thomas Warner. The stadium was built with the assistance of Taiwan, who funded seven of the 10 million dollars to build it in 2006. It's been said that it's one of the finest cricket stadiums in the West Indies and with a recent million dollar renovation it's ready to live up to that statement.

The New lighting and scoreboards are awesome and I can see them from my house lighting up the town.




Your chance to watch some fantastic cricket matches is coming up this week, as St. Kitts hosts the Caribbean Premier League T20 World Cup Tournament starting Thursday, August 7th, at 4 p.m.

In fact, you may have seen the billboards up along the roads for the event.


The teams have been having matches for the past month in this tournament in various Caribbean stadiums but the finals are proudly being hosted in St. Kitts this year.

The CPL consists of six teams, all from the Caribbean. The teams have interesting team names too. You have The Antigua Hawksbills













And The Red Steel (Trinidad)


If you're the least bit interested I would highly recommend catching a match or more. If you're an American like myself you probably won't get another chance to watch Cricket.

The tournament, as I mentioned starts on August 7th, then the next match is August 9th, then 10th and then August 12th, 13th, and 14th, with the finals on August 16th. There are plenty of chances to catch a match.

The CPL20 also has a Facebook and webpage that offer even more in depth information here: https://www.facebook.com/CarnivalT20 and webpage.

St. Kitts Cricket Association has a Facebook page too:St. Kitts Cricket

I was fortunate and curious enough to have gone to a cricket match at Warner Park last year when the West Indies team had a match. I must say that I really enjoyed the game and if you like baseball then you'll probably enjoy cricket too.

With that said it does take some pre-match research ( I honestly like Wikipedia's instructions: Cricket) to understand or if you don't get time to do that then just ask one of the fans at the match. They'll be able to give you some tips on how the game works. The matches tend to be long but that's the nature of cricket. I did both of the above and still don't have it all figured out but enough that I can sort of tell someone else how the game works.

I was thoroughly impressed with the athleticism of the athletes. Like baseball there is a player who pitches the ball to the batter, but the outs work differently and the ball can be hit more places then in baseball. I say the players are more athletic because they have to be. In cricket nearly every player "pitches" or bowls the ball in each game. The defending players or non-batting team in the "outfield" do not wear gloves, which makes for some interesting catches. I saw guys leap up and tumble to the ground in a spinning motion in an effort to catch and I'm assuming to soften the balls momentum. It's quite acrobatic actually.


Then you have the wicket, which looks like an abacus sitting on two upright poles. The batter is not only trying to hit the ball but also protect the wicket from being hit by the incoming pitch.




 Another interesting feature of the game are the hats. The players and referees wear some interesting hats and that in itself is enough to come out for.


Apparently the hats have been a tradition of cricket for a long time:





I could write about this all day but the best way to experience this is to come out yourself. The tickets are very inexpensive (Starting at 20 E.C. and half price for children.) and it's a great opportunity for St. Kitts and yourself.

Also in keeping with Caribbean party anytime anywhere style you can buy tickets for the ultimate party while watching the match. For 200 E.C. you can experience the Karma Party Stand venue which features a pool, foam pit, and live DJ's from Trinidad and St. Kitts.

I hope to see you there!

You can buy tickets for the matches in person at Courts, Digecel Locations, at the Stadium Office, or online at kyazoonga.com

If you miss the tournament don't fret. There is another cricket match coming up too on August 27th between The West Indies and Bangladesh. This is an international match and should also be very interesting.