Caribbean T20 off to carnival-like start at Queen’s Park Oval

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad – The Caribbean T20 2013 tournament got off to a colourful start with a carnival-like opening ceremony at the Queen’s Park Oval on Sunday. Fans at the historic venue were able to see a parade of players from the seven teams participating in the competition, which runs from January 6 to 20.

The loudest cheers came when the players from home team Trinidad and Tobago danced across the stage – led by skipper Denesh Ramdin and inspirational allrounder Dwayne Bravo. Also in the parade were Guyana and West Indies batting legend Shiv Chanderpaul and West Indies captain Darren Sammy, who will be leading the Windward Islands.

The audience included: Dr Julian Hunte, President of the WICB; Azim Bassarath, President of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board; as well as senior officials of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago; WICB Directors and officials, Directors and officers of the local cricket board; officials of the West Indies Players Association; and several former West Indies and Trinidad and Tobago players.

The event climaxed with lively entertainment by local calypsonians Kes, Rikki Jai and Chucky Gordon as well as a cultural presentation from Dance Theatre.

Michael Muirhead, CEO of the WICB, delivered the opening remarks where he hailed the organisers of the tournament for their hard work and also the Government of Trinidad and Tobago for its continued commitment to the game of cricket.

"The WICB has invested heavily in this tournament, particularly in the television broadcast, to ensure fans throughout the Caribbean and other parts of the world can see, live and in living colour via ESPN, the tremendous talent which is in our region," Muirhead told the audience.

"We are not lacking or wanting for talent in the Caribbean. The evidence vindicates this statement. In the next two weeks here in Trinidad and in St Lucia, we will have some of the finest players in the world competing in this tournament, entertaining us and showcasing the most exciting brand of cricket anywhere."

Giving the feature address was Anil Roberts, Minister of Sports in Trinidad and Tobago, who lauded the sensational performance by the West Indies team which won the ICC World T20 in Sri Lanka last year and also called for continued support of West Indies cricket at all levels.

"We are delighted to welcome everyone to Trinidad for the Caribbean T20. The crowd will be loud in support of the Red Force, but we will also support all the teams because we all love cricket in the region.

"Congrats to the WICB and to captain Darren Sammy and the West Indies team. Well done to everyone – to the players, the coaches, the managers – who performed at the World T20 to bring pride back to West Indies cricket," Roberts said.

This is the fourth year of the Caribbean T20 tournament. Matches will be played at Queen’s Park Oval from Sunday to Saturday, January 12. The tournament then moves to St Lucia for the second phase at Beausejour Cricket Stadium from Tuesday, January 15 to Sunday, January 20.

Guyana won the title in 2010, while Trinidad and Tobago won in 2011 and 2012.