On Target
March 4, 2022
Music to the ears

It must be indeed commendable that the hierarchy of the Windward Islands Cricket Board (WICB) has finally begun to sink their teeth into developing the sport in a wholesome way in the four islands.

Therefore, the pronouncements emerging from last Friday and Saturday’s retreat in St Lucia must come as a breaking dawn moment.
Essentially, the WICB has taken a decision to deal forthright with cricket matters within these nations. This is music to the ears for those in the Windward Islands who have been clamouring for attention to be paid the sport in a wholesome manner.

Among the new developments listed is the selection of 12 female elite players to be placed on a six-month retainer contract, in the first instance. Showing equality, three will be chosen from each territory. Additionally, each group will have a paid coach assigned to them; the creation of the new role of Technical Director, and each territory is assigned an Operations Manager/ Development Officer.

Other cricket decisions include a bilateral series across the Windward islands for emerging players, while the Advancing Cricketers through Education (ACE) programme will be expanded to accredited courses.

Critically too, there will be the reintroduction of competitive cricket across age levels for males and females.

These are signs that the men charged with getting cricket on some sort of firm footing in the Windward Islands are beginning to brighten their vision and prepared to change the course of operations.

It is undeniable that the new moves will certainly help in propelling the game forward among the islands.

These latest undertakings come on the heels of others taken last year, as US $25,000 was granted to the four national associations to be used for female cricket. The intention of the programme was to aid the development of female cricket throughout the Windward Islands. Each country was responsible for its own programme where the focus was on talent identification, coaching, or competitive matches.

To what extent these objectives were met is another matter down for evaluation by those decision makers of the WICB.

The next best moves are for the four individual territorial boards to embrace the plans which would help to excavate Windwards cricket from its current state.

It is instructive to note that much of the plans and proposals involve the injection of finance.

The lack of finance to promote cricket and enhance opportunities, has been a constant bug- bear in the region, and more so the Windwards.

Whilst the amounts may be a drop in the bucket for what is needed, that glimmer of hope is better than the darkness which previously seemed eternal.

It is equally noteworthy that female cricket is being looked at in a semi-professional light in the Windwards. The female cricketers in the Windwards, like their male counterparts are at a disadvantage as they have to go through a longer route to make it on to the West Indies team.

Optimism looms large with the prospects of Windwards cricket taking off in a few years’ time, as the framework for focus is being erected.

In all the glow and kudos, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.