Costa Rica gets ready to host ICC Americas event

Wed, Mar 9, 2011 1:50 PM


Costa Rica gets ready to host ICC Americas event
Costa Rica captain Julian Oliver has revealed that he is excited about his team hosting the ICC Americas Division 3 event.

Read a full interview with him ahead of the event.

How are preparations going for ICC Americas Division 3? Is your side feeling confident of the event?

Preparations are well underway in the preparation for the tournament. In 2009 Costa Rica hosted the Central American Twenty20 championships with teams such as Mexico, Belize, Panama and El Salvador taking part which has given us confidence in hosting this tournament. It is obviously quite a big undertaking to get everything organised to the quality required and we hope that we will put on a performance on the pitch that will match our efforts of it.

How much will you benefit from home advantage?

We will be holding the tournament at the ground where we play most of our matches so we will be used to the conditions. There could be a bit of wind around and it will almost certainly be hot - so we hope that the practice and training at the ground will hold us in good stead.

Is promotion a realistic prospect for your side?

I can't imagine we will be favourites going into the tournament - we have played against some of the other teams before such as Mexico and Belize and we haven't beaten them to date. However our side is coming together, we will be at full strength and we believe if we get off to a good start in the tournament we can hold our own.

Tell us about the popularity of cricket in your country? Is cricket a widely played sport?

Many years ago cricket was an extremely popular game in the Limon province of the country mostly amongst descendents of Jamaicans who had moved to Costa Rica to build the Atlantic railway and then later in the banana plantations. With the ascent of football in the region cricket became less and less followed - although still maintained amongst certain Limonense families. Today cricket is growing in Costa Rica - we have eight men's teams in two divisions and we have grass roots development programme that is picking up energy. We have been holding a number of training workshops for physical education teachers and launching school's tournaments in the Limon province and in San Jose. In 2010 we became recognised by the Government of Costa Rica as the national body for cricket in this country. We hope that through our efforts we can really grow the numbers of people playing the game that we love.

Do you think Twenty20 cricket is more likely to ensure more people are interested in playing the game?

Introducing cricket to a new audience is often a bit of a challenge - but of all the forms, Twenty20 is the most suitable in terms of producing exciting, action filled and relatively short.

How excited are you that there is a clear qualification pathway to the ICC World Twenty20 2012?

The structure of the competition gives us the opportunity to go up through the tournaments - if we are good enough it is exciting to know that there is that opportunity for us.

Do you dream that one day your country will have the chance to play at cricket the likes of Australia, India and South Africa? Is this a realistic dream?

Of course we all dream of playing cricket at the highest level and the reality is that at this point it is unlikely that we will reach that level. But it is a good dream - other nations have grown cricket to reach a wider audience, so why can't we.

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