On show: Players representing the seven teams taking part in the 2013 Caribbean T20 tournament are seen here during the opening ceremony at the Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain yesterday afternoon. The Trinidad and Tobago leg of the series got under way last night when hosts and defending champions T&T played Jamaica. See Page 62. —Photo: Ishmael Salandy

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Opening ceremony launches CT20

By Roger Seepersad

The 2013 Caribbean Twenty20 officially got underway yesterday with an opening ceremony at the Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain which saw the local fans on their feet as Denesh Ramdin led the defending champions Trinidad and Tobago across the stage for the parade of the teams.

T&T will be involved in some heated battles during the course of the week as the Oval hosts the first leg of the tournament which started yesterday with the hosts tackling Jamaica in the opening match from 8 p.m.

It was the first time the Caribbean T20 began with an official opening ceremony, which featured speeches from West Indies Cricket Board CEO Michael Muirhead and Trinidad and Tobago's Minister of Sport Anil Roberts, as well as cultural performances by dancers and local artistes Kees Dieffenthaller, Chucky and Samraj "Rikki Jai" Jaimungal.

In opening the fourth and final edition of the Caribbean T20, CEO Muirhead reminded the players that, "this is where stars are born.

"This tournament has been the launch pad for the international careers for some of the best known and sought after players in world cricket."

He also noted that the Caribbean T20 will be showcasing "the most exciting brand of cricket anywhere" and that the new format in which every team will play each other once, will allow for more opportunities for success and redemption should any of the sides slip up early in the tournament.

"Exciting cricket is what the West Indies brand is best known for. The stage is set. It is now up to the teams to bring it," he added.

Muirhead also noted that while the majority of support will be for the Red, White and Black, all the other teams will be gunning to have their name on the coveted trophy.

He also thanked the T&T public, the TTCB and the T&T government for the interest they have shown in the tournament.

The Ministry of Sport, the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism, the Tourism Development Company and the Public Transport Service Corporation as well as First Citizens Bank have all partnered with the TTCB to host the first leg of the Caribbean T20.

In his brief statement, Minister Roberts congratulated the West Indies team and skipper Darren Sammy for making 2012 a memorable year when they showed the world that West Indies is back on track.

However, he also spoke of work still to be done.

"I also remind the WICB and players that T20 is the primary school of cricket. We must move to the secondary school level and then the tertiary level and masters to become number one in Test cricket…then we will truly know we have risen," he said.

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