Digicel, proud sponsor of West Indies cricket since 2004, will this Saturday 9th April, launch its exciting summer of cricket in the Caribbean – the Digicel Series 2011 – featuring the West Indies against their ICC World Cup opponents Pakistan and world champions India, in a battle for supremacy that will span two Twenty20s, ten ODIs and five Test matches across eight Digicel markets.
The Digicel Series launch also ties in the international premiere of ‘Fire in Babylon’, a cricket documentary that is less about the techniques of the game and more about its socio-political impact on the Caribbean and the world during the ‘70s and ‘80s.
As this current crop of West Indies players prepare to take the field against these two reigning cricketing giants, ‘Fire in Babylon’ will be a timely reminder of their predecessor’s triumphant feats and dominance despite the harsh realities of turbulences experienced during their tours, including apartheid in South Africa, race riots in England and civil unrest in the Caribbean.
The next three months is expected to be another interesting match-up between the West Indies and India and Pakistan following their performances in the ICC World Cup. India prevailed over the West Indies with an 80 run win during their Group B battle on 20th March. Despite this loss, the Windies had already qualified for the quarterfinal, which is where they were ousted by a 10-wicket win from Pakistan three days later. India went on to beat Pakistan by 29 runs during the second semi-final game, then lifted the World Cup crown following a win over Sri Lanka.
Having suffered defeats at both their hands recently, the Windies will be anxious to deliver in front of their loyal home crowd. With the passion of the fans a vital part of the game, Digicel’s new marketing campaign under the banner of ‘WI All In’ is focused on the fans, presenting them as the heroes of the game whose faithful support is critical to the resurgence of West Indies’ cricketing glory. To more closely include the fans, there will also be several at-match Digicel promotions, including ‘Catch for Berry’ and ‘Crack the Cricket Code’.
The Pakistan Tour, the first in the Digicel Series, begins on 21st April at the Beausejour Cricket Ground, St. Lucia, with the Digicel Twenty20. The first and second Digicel ODIs follow on 23rd April and 25th April respectively.
The Kensington Oval in Barbados will be the site of the third and fourth Digicel ODIs from 28th April to 2nd May, with the fifth and final Digicel ODIs of the West Indies/Pakistan tour being held at the Guyana National Stadium between the 5th and 7th May. Play resumes in the first Digicel Test at the Guyana National Stadium between 12th and 16th May and the Pakistan Tour ends with the second Digicel Test at Warner Park, St. Kitts between 20th and 24th May.
Trinidad has the pleasure of hosting the start of the West Indies versus India Series, beginning with the Digicel Pearls T20 match on 4th June at the Queen’s Park Oval. The action continues between 6th and 8th June at the same venue, when the teams face off in the first and second Digicel Pearls ODI games.
Antigua’s Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground will then play host to the third and fourth Digicel Pearls ODIs between 11th and 13th June, before the teams depart for Jamaica for eight days of play, which will begin with the final ODI at the Sabina Park on 16th June followed by the first Test match between 20th and 24th June.
Barbados welcomes the teams on 26th June, for the start of the second five-day Test on 28th June at the Kensington Oval. The wonderful summer of cricket comes to a close with the third Test at St. Kitts’ Windsor Park between 6th and 10th July.
In addition to their match schedules, the players from both Tours will be engaged in Digicel-organised community activities, including visits to children’s homes, schools and infirmaries during their tours of the various islands.
Digicel’s sponsorship deal with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), which goes into 2012, covers the West Indies Team, A-Team, Home Series, Away Series and Cricket Development Programmes. In further support of West Indies cricket, Digicel has individual sponsorship agreements with five West Indies cricketers and former West Indies players, now Digicel cricket ambassadors, Lance Gibbs and Sir Garfield Sobers.