Defending champions Barbados Pride will take on the Leeward Island Hurricanes at Kensington Oval from Wednesday as first-class cricket makes a return in the Caribbean.
Barbados won the competition the last time it was last played in 2020 and Cricket West Indies (CWI) recently unveiled the match schedule for the first two rounds. There will be five rounds among the six professional regional franchises.
Home team Trinidad and Tobago Red Force host Jamaica Scorpions at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Trinidad, while the newly named Guyana Harpy Eagles face Windward Islands Volcanoes at Queen’s Park Oval, also in Trinidad.
The West Indies Championship marks not only a return of the regional red ball competition, but also the opportunity for players to stake their claim for selection to the West Indies Test squad for the forthcoming Apex Test Series against England in March 2022.
The first and second rounds will be played in Barbados and Trinidad from Wednesday, February 9 to Saturday, February 12; and from Tuesday, February 15 to Friday, February 18. The teams will again compete for the Headley Weekes Trophy named in honour of West Indies legends George Headley and Sir Everton Weekes.
In the second round, Barbados Pride face Jamaica Scorpions at Kensington Oval; Trinidad and Tobago Red Force take on Windward Islands Volcanoes at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy; and Guyana Harpy Eagles meet Leeward Islands Hurricanes at Queen’s Park Oval.
The last three rounds of the West Indies Championship are scheduled to be contested in May. For the 2022 tournament, each squad will consist of fifteen players due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CWI is also implementing a special “player loan” system to try to ensure that each team will be able to complete their fixtures. If a team has a player or players ruled out due to a positive COVID-19 result, they can request to use a player or players from another team and/or from a pool of locally registered reserve players.
Johnny Grave, CEO of CWI, commented on how the West Indies Championship is a critical part of CWI’s professional cricket calendar. “Following detailed planning over the past six months, we are delighted to finally announce the return of the West Indies Championship.
“This is exciting news as we know the teams have been putting in hours of hard work in the nets, patiently waiting for the matches to be confirmed and are looking forward to being back on the field and entertaining their fans. These upcoming matches are especially crucial as we host England in the Apex Test Series in March, so the ‘Championship’ will be the ideal preparation for our Test players as well,” Grave said.
Jimmy Adams, CWI’s Director of Cricket also welcomed the return of four-day format.
“I am pleased to see the re-introduction of regional four-day cricket for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. This competition plays a critical role in our player-development pathway and, after almost two years, we are delighted to have our regional players back playing competitively in this format.”
LIVE ball-by-ball scoring of each game will be available through the www.windiescricket.com match centre. CWI will be streaming each of the matches with commentary via the Windies cricket YouTube channels. The Championship will also be streamed live in India on FanCode, as part of CWI’s partnership with the Indian broadcaster.
Round 1: February 9-12
Barbados Pride vs Leeward Island Hurricanes at Kensington Oval
Windward Islands Volcanoes vs Guyana Harpy Eagles at Queen’s Park Oval
Trinidad and Tobago Red Force vs Jamaica Scorpions at Brian Lara Cricket Academy
Round 2: February 15-18
Barbados Pride vs Jamaica Scorpions at Kensington Oval
Guyana Harpy Eagles vs Leeward Island Hurricanes at Queen’s Park Oval
Trinidad and Tobago Red Force vs Windward Islands Volcanoes at Brian Lara Cricket Academy