On Target
February 4, 2011
Better late than never

The recent move by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to put money into club Cricket in the Caribbean, albeit delayed, must be commended, as it shows approaches geared towards ensuring posterity of the sport in the region.{{more}}

The initiative comes at a time when all other Test playing countries have gone full throttle and are light years ahead with structured development programmes, while we are still trying to play catch up, but it is better late than never.

The Grassroots Programme has seen success in other sporting disciplines, hence Cricket had no other choice but to follow suit.

Cricket has gone beyond mere natural talent, and who does not possess such?

No longer are players coming through naturally, as cultural practices do not ensure this. Additionally, our socialisation processes continue to evolve, thus, changes must be adopted and fashioned to respond to the shifts.

The Grassrroots Cricket Programme follows the recent establishment of the Sagicor High Performance Centre in Barbados, in which young cricketers are exposed to high level training in several facets of the sport.

So, slowly the guys at the WICB are putting the pieces together, even with a snail’s pace approach.

But again, better late than never.

This is not to say that one would see a turn around in West Indies Cricket instantly, and that the region overnight would become world beaters, but making an effort to excavate ourselves from the doldrums of world Cricket must be entertained and pursued vigourously.

The latest initiative rolled out by the WICB entails a US$360,000 grant programme called the Grassroots Sports Facility, in which clubs and organised Cricket units can draw down as much a US$5000 for Infrastructure Development, to strengthen Training Programmes and for the Procurement of gear and equipment.

The Grassroots Programme’s objective is mainly to prepare young cricketers of both sexes for their entry into competitive cricket by providing them with the necessary training to develop their cricketing skills and physical and mental preparedness for the game.

But what is note worthy is that it is community based in which cricket organisations get an opportunity to improve the quality and standards of local community Cricket grounds and the community cricket training programme.

Small though the sum may seem for the magnitude of the task at hand, a start is a start.

One cannot readily assume that the larger territories such as Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and Guyana, with their rich legacy of clubs, will consume the funds.

They will automatically qualify, as part of the eligibility rule is that clubs/clusters must be able to show the WICB that a current club/cluster structure with active participants is in place.

Therefore, it is also a wake up and a shake up for Vincentian Cricket units, which are still seen as teams, rather than bona fide Cricket clubs.

Hence, with the non existence of such entities, we and the other three Windward Islands have had to form clusters in order to take advantage of the facility being offered.

Despite what are some already envisaged short comings, let us for the time being, endeavour not to look for the possible pitfalls and make the programme work, by scaffolding it where necessary.

It is hard to logically comprehend why many who wail in disgust and disappointment with the state of Cricket here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and indeed the entire Caribbean, are still critical now some efforts are being made to address the situation.

Continuing on a positive note, the WICB initiative should complement the other privately run Cricket training operations which are carried out here.

Also, the local Cricket authorities who have been sitting idly by, playing the hit and miss game, should ensure that they take advantage of what few crumbs fall from the table.

Certified Cricket coaches surely now have a window to put their knowledge into practice, hopefully for the betterment of the sport.

It is also better late than never for the removal of the Mound at the Sion Hill Playing Field.