On Target
April 17, 2009
Last straw falls

The final morsel of pride to which this country’s Cricket fraternity was clinging, the Under-19 Windwards title, has been taken from its grasp.

As it stands, this country has not won a Cricket title over the past six months.{{more}}

First in Dominica last September, the senior team failed to regain the Windward Islands title, a title which we have not won for some time now. Then, the Under-15 finished at the bottom of the heap in their sojourn here in December.

We didn’t expect much, but we must include the inexperienced Under-19 females who were just not ready for their outing in St. Lucia last week.

Most recently, and most disappointingly, the Under-19s relinquished their position as top of their age group in the four-island grouping. The only consolation was the team winning the knock out format, but that, too, is more of a lottery, as what counts is the league format.

Having won the title on three consecutive occasions, from 2006 to 2008, the Vincentian lads faltered in Dominica, handing the hosts the title.

Winning is not the only thing. However, winning or losing measures one’s progress or regression in relation to your opponents.

Whilst there is no need to push the alarm button at this juncture, there is indeed cause for concern. Examination is required before all comes tumbling down.

Much is expected of Cricket, granted, unlike other sporting disciplines; it is in a relatively privileged position, as it has at its disposal the best facilities.

At a near maximum, seven fields are available to the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association to run its domestic competitions. So one can see the expectations.

The Cricket authorities here face a two-edged sword, as we are not winning, neither are we seeing many prospects for the ultimate achievement, that is, playing for the West Indies.

Last year, Under-19 players Dellorn Johnson and Dawnley Grant made the West Indies team to the Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia. Sunil Ambris got selected for the West Indies for the International Under-15 competition, staged here in the Caribbean.

Johnson and Keiron Cottoy have gained central contracts from the West Indies Cricket Board. But one has to ensure that these players as well as others go on to the bigger field.

Yes, this country has produced more West Indies senior cricketers than the other three territories. But in recent times, though, a drought has come our way.

Not since Deighton Butler got a call up to the regional senior side in 2005 and played some One Day Internationals has anyone from this country been in the eyes of the regional selectors.

And, it looks bleak on our side, as no one seems to be coming through at a rate which indicates hope.

So the focus must be on the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association, to see that those with the potential of carrying on be given the right leadership and guidance to take them onwards.

Similarly, the response must be reciprocal from those hopefuls.

Not that results must be seen overnight, but we are still to see the products of the batting and bowling clinics held here last year. At least we should by now be seeing the participants’ performance showing an upward move on the curve.

Our neighbours Grenada have seen the call up of Andre Fletcher to the West Indies One Day and 20/20 squads, and most recently, Nellon Pascal is to go on tour to England.

St. Lucia’s Darren Sammy is fast establishing himself as a fixture on the regional team, especially in the shortened versions of Cricket. He, too, is on his way to England with the West Indies.

But while our Cricket house is seemingly ablaze, it might be prudent for the three other nations which make up the Windwards grouping to wet theirs, as what happens in one territory affects or impacts on the other, as they have to venture out as a unit on the wider regional scale.

What is definitely impacting is the continued presence of the “Mound “at the Sion Hill Playing Field.

email: [email protected]