The overseas territories at the t20 world cup

By Craig Brewin,

It’s the T20 World Cup this month. Are the Overseas Territories represented?

Have you ever wondered how the Overseas Territories participate in international cricket? Did you know that St Helena has an international cricket team? The T20 World Cup, to be held later this month, may appear to be a short one-off event, but qualifying started in 2018, with teams from around the world playing in continental qualifying tournaments.

In our last article on sport, we pointed out that of the British Overseas Territories, only Bermuda, British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands are allowed to compete in the Olympics in their own right, even though most of the others play international football. So, the athletes for territories outside the favoured three have to try to get into Team GB. Some make it, but it is very few. Gibraltar have been outspoken about the injustice of this.

There is a different but similar situation with cricket. Montserrat, Anguilla, and BVI are part of the Leeward Islands Cricket Association, which is affiliated to the West Indies Cricket Board. Although they currently have no players in the squad and rarely do, they will be officially represented at the World Cup.

Although players in other Overseas Territories, namely St Helena, Bermuda and Cayman Islands, did complete in the World Cup qualifiers, there is a limit to how far a cricketer’s career can go domestically. They can play for England but wouldn’t get picked from the local leagues.

Cricketers falling under the West Indies Cricket Board may have fewer opportunities to play on the world stage, but they play at a higher level and have a route to playing test cricket if they are good enough. Jahmar Hamilton of Anguilla played a test in 2019 and one-day internationals on the West Indies tour of Bangladesh just a few months ago. Between 2003 and 2005, Omari Banks, also of Anguilla, played in 10 tests and five one day internationals. Lionel Baker of Montserrat played four tests and 10 One day internationals in 2008/9.

St Helena, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands played 32 qualifying games between them over the past three years. This was in a series of events stretched out by the pandemic, and which are still not completed. St Helena entered the completion through the African southern region tournament held in Botswana in 2018. They were eliminated at this stage despite beating Eswatini, Malawi and Lesotho, in their first three games. Three subsequent defeats left them third in a group of six with two to qualify.

Bermuda and the Cayman Islands started in 2018, where they each played four games to eliminate the hosts in the southern American regional tournament, Argentina. Bermuda then went on to host the next round of the tournament, where they and the Cayman Islands met the northern America qualifiers, Canada and the USA. After another six games each, Cayman Islands and the USA were eliminated.

Bermuda then went on to the next round, a 14-team tournament in the UAE, where they were eliminated in the group stage. The six qualifiers from that, including Namibia, who beat Bermuda and St Helena to get to this stage, have one more qualifying round to go. This will take place shortly before the tournament proper begins. Here they will be joined by Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and will compete for the four remaining spots Super 12.