MAY I MAKE A SIMPLE, constructive suggestion as one who has visited Barbados over the last ten days for the Test cricket, and who has read your editorial Push Sports Tourism Harder on May 6?
There is a burgeoning market in Britain to be tapped, of cricketers who want to play overseas: not only club and counties but the growing number of veterans teams. Every English county now has two teams at Over-50s level, and at Over-60s level, and even one at Over-70s level. As many have retired from work, they have leisure time and money – and they all know the fame of Barbados in cricket.
But nobody who has been here for the Test match, and seen the state of cricket grounds here outside Kensington Oval, would go home and suggest a playing tour of Barbados.
What is needed, therefore, is for the tourist board to employ two or three full-time groundsmen to go around the island, with the necessary equipment, to maintain cricket grounds – or, specifically, the grounds of those clubs that sign up to a deal whereby they will rent out their ground, when not required for an important match, at modest charge to visiting teams.
Teams from England will come two or three at a time to play each other, not least “in lean months like October” as you describe them. But, of course, if local clubs can field veteran teams to join in a competition, so much the better.
If the tourist board took this step, then advertised in cricket magazines and so on in the United Kingdom, everyone would be a winner.
– Scyld Berry,
Cricket correspondent for the Daily and Sunday Telegraph