On Target
December 20, 2013
Just for the record’s sake

Congratulations are quite in order for the St Vincent and the Grenadines senior male cricket team for doing the double in the annual Windward Islands tournament, which concluded in Grenada earlier this week.{{more}}

St Vincent and the Grenadines retained the Twenty/20 championship, winning the title twice in the competition’s four-year history. We also regained the two-day championship, after losing it last year to St Lucia.

In total, St Vincent and the Grenadines has won the longer format four out of the last five times.

The Vincentians recorded back to back titles in 2009 and 2010, then a three-day format, and completed the hat trick in 2011, when the competition changed to a two-day format.

Taking the 2013 competition should have been expected, as there was nothing magical or scientific which would have pointed otherwise. A look at the four teams in the competition reveals that St Vincent and the Grenadines possessed the more seasoned players available.

Most of the players, especially those who featured in the two-day competition for St Vincent and the Grenadines, have played for the Windwards at the regional first class level – a disparity with the other three islands.

Also, the Vincentians had just come out of an extended local season, with the two-day competition, the 40-over competition and the Twenty/20 competition, all at their disposal.

But not to take away from the achievements and plaudits gained by the team of Vincentian players, what is critical is the wider picture – Windwards and, by extension, West Indies cricket.

A winner resulted despite the two-day competition which was affected by rain competition, albeit on first innings results. Likewise, the top run getters in the main were those who are almost certainties in the Windwards team. At the other end, bowlers like Grenadians Denis George and Nelon Pascal picked up their five-wicket hauls as usual. They, more than others, are the “backyard bullies” of Windwards cricket, but become cannon fodder whenever they venture out in regional competitions.

So the cricketing anomalies unfold as St Vincent and the Grenadines seemingly is the dominating force in Windwards cricket at the senior level, but the same cannot be said at the Under-15 and Under-19 bridges.

Simply, we are not producing the quality cricketers at these junctures to stamp their name first up at the higher Windwards outings.

Through some stroke of luck, persistence and personal endeavours, some players come through to the senior team and the showers of praise come down in torrential pours.

How long will this trend continue, “as every day the bucket go ah well, one day e bottom ah go drop out.”

This column continues to crusade on the need to pay greater attention to the progressive development of our young sportsmen and women, including cricketers.

Then, when lady luck stops smiling on us, then we come back down to earth. Reality must take root, and we begin to pinch ourselves and realise we are only as good as the opposition which is presented to us.

Here there is the Kiddy Cricket, the Grassroot Cricket Programme and now the Street Twenty/20, but are they all on one page and singing from the same hymnals?

But St Vincent and the Grenadines’ cricket is a reflection of the upside down pyramid of the four-island configuration.

The limited resources available aside, why have the authorities here continued to sideline Ian Allen as part of the national set-up? Ironically, Allen is not involved with the local coaching design, yet he is the Windward Islands senior coach, and has held the post for some years now.

More incongruity unfolds year after year, as Allen is asked to coach the Windwards team, yet he does not get an opportunity to view the players who will eventually come to him, except when the tournament is held here in St Vincent and the Grenadines. A case of the cart before the horse scenario for you.

Whilst these concerns are documented for the record’s sake, those who choose to celebrate at this time of the year, and to partake of what the season offers and means, have a Blessed Christmas.