On Target
April 9, 2010
Taking another view

The just concluded Windward Islands Power Companies sponsored Windward Island Under-19 Cricket Tournament, staged here over the last week and a half, points to the immediate need for authorities in the four islands to seriously look at this competition, more so, its format.{{more}}

The current set up entails playing two rounds of matches, back to back, for a total of four days of Cricket. Then there was a break, and the final round.

One may argue that the format, barring some exceptional performances, bears results and at least the competition produces a champion.

On one hand, while measures have been put in place to protect the medium pace bowlers by restricting them to a maximum of seven overs in a session, the same players are asked to be on the field for four consecutive days.

Maybe the organisers, the Windward Islands Cricket Board of Control, can look into having a rest day after each round.

I am aware the cost may be prohibitive, but it was clear only a few of the players had the physical strength to endure the matches, bearing in mind we are in the “corn curl” generation.

Maybe, just maybe, and this may be as a last resort, we should shelve the limited overs competition.

But so much for the format; there are other aspects of the tournament to be addressed.

From looking at the matches, it is high time that the authorities rein in the young cricketers.

The copy-cat approach of sledging, a staple in the armoury of international Test playing countries, mainly the Australians, was evident among some of our youngsters.

At this juncture, they should be told just simply to play the game and forget about those psychological tactics, of which few have any understanding. Some may pass it off as bantering, as the players were all housed at the same place, but fuelling any unsportsmanlike behaviour should not be condoned, especially among the Under-19’s.

But what was ironic is that many of them are just simply not ready for the level of national representation, but got through because of the general downturn in enthusiasm and love for sports.

To me, none of the four islands stood out in terms of what was presented as emerging talent in the Windward Islands.

In short, the Cricket was not of a high standard, neither were there stand out performers, rather players who exhibited some knowledge and possess some ability.

Indeed, there are some with prospects, but they are few and far between.

Certainly, I shudder to think what the Windwards will look like five years from now, if that which was on show is the best for the future.

Therefore, the focal point is what you do not have talent wise should be made up by excellence in other areas, and surely, the passion and love for Cricket by many of the Cricketers are remote thoughts.

Seeing players who performed consistently poorly and showed no remorse, but who were glad to insert the earplugs of their iPods and mp3s at the end of the day’s play, tells us where we are at with Windwards Cricket. Mind you, the same happens even at the highest rungs of the West Indies cricket ladder.

Of urgent need for redress is the many shades of white that were on show. The individual territories, except the host, should be reprimanded for presenting their players so untidily dressed. To say what passed for uniformity was shameful is an understatement.

In fact, one player wore a beige outfit during the two-day competition.

It is my hope that with the Chief Executive Officer of the Windwards Board, Lennox John, getting the first hand experience, one should not see such reoccurrences in the future.

Also, Mr. John, it is my view that the coaches of the Under-15, Under-19 and senior teams, who are appointed in advance, should be present at their respective Windwards tournaments to see what material they have to deal with.

There will be letting up in the call for the complete removal of the Mound at the Sion Hill Playing Field.