Wed | May 12, 2021

Zero tolerance! - JCA warns against COVID protocol breaches at Super50

Published:Sunday | January 31, 2021 | 8:58 AMRobert Bailey - Sunday Gleaner Writer
Francis
Francis

The Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) has outlined a zero-tolerance approach to breaches of the safety protocols for the Regional Super50 Cup in Antigua and Barbuda, warning that any member in breach of the guidelines, will be immediately sent home from the competition.

Chief Executive Officer of the JCA, Courtney Francis, told The Sunday Gleaner that the administration has been in constant dialogue with the players, who have been made aware of the strict position that will be taken in the event that guidelines, designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, are not adhered to.

The Scorpions, who last won the tournament in 2012, are scheduled to leave the island this afternoon for the championships, which will be contested in a bubble environment from February 7 to 27.

IMMEDIATE DISMISSAL

“I have already spoken to them, and I will keep talking to them throughout on how to represent their country, because they are going there to be ambassadors for Jamaica,” said Francis.

“What I can say is that anybody who disobeys the protocols will be immediately sent home from the tournament,” he added.

“The tournament is very strict and it has to be like that, because the implications of the persons breaking the protocols will have far-reaching and a negative impact on cricket itself, and so we have to be very guarded and players were made aware of this stance,” Francis said. “We have individual meetings, we have team meetings to ensure that they stay within those protocols and so they are very aware of what the consequences are if they disobey these protocols.”

Francis underscored that, despite the Scorpions’ failure to win the tournament in nine years, he is positive about their chances of breaking the drought this year.

“I am very optimistic about our chances because the guys have prepared well under the circumstances, and so I expect the team to represent well,” he said. “When I look on paper, the teams around the region seem to be relatively strong, which is good for the tournament.

“However, this tournament is unprecedented because they will be playing in a bubble for the first time in the region (in this competition), and so a lot of what would be the norm is not going to be,” he said.

Francis further stated that, in order for the team to come out on top, they must follow the coach’s instructions and stick to their game plan.

MENTAL STRENGTH

“This is going to take a lot of mental strength and a lot of mental toughness and it is going to be very challenging, and so a lot of parameters are unknown and nobody can really predict what is going to happen at this tournament,” Francis said.

“I am just hopeful that our players can stick to the task and do what they have to do and come out as the best team in the tournament,” he said.

Six franchises will take part in the competition, Jamaica Scorpions, Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, Barbados Pride, Guyana Jaguars, Leeward Islands Hurricanes and the Windward Islands Volcanoes.

All players and officials will be tested twice for COVID-19 before departing for Antigua, and will undergo further tests shortly after arriving in the island. They will also be subjected to additional tests throughout the tournament.

Matches will be played at the Coolidge Cricket Ground and the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium.

The success of the Super50 Cup is expected to pave the way for international tours by Sri Lanka, Pakistan, South Africa and Australia later this year.

robert.bailey@gleanerjm.com