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Same show, different year


Do you know that this country’s national cricket competition has begun? Yes, it has. It is from this competition that St. Vincent and the Grenadines would select its team for this year’s senior Windwards tournament, one of the rungs in the ladder to West Indies selection.{{more}}

It is also the competition that exposes the best talent that this country has to offer.

Really? I never knew that.

Then why does it not hold any significance to those who are in charge of the sport’s progress?

Okay, Cricket to them means nothing more than window dressing and a stepping stone to higher offices.

I can see clearly now.

It is this time of year, when the top cricketers in the land will show their worth on the cricket field; some for the fun of it, others with a view to first gaining a place on the St. Vincent and the Grenadines team, then the Windwards and, hopefully, the West Indies.

But, yet again, it is the same show, just a flip of the calendar.

The start of premier cricket has come almost unnoticed, as the executive of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association has failed miserably to spruce up the competition.

Very little was done by way of publicising its commencement. Maybe the good gentlemen were waiting on the local media to hype it up for them. But you can’t get any hype when you seem low-keyed about the matter. Nor should you expect others to make a cricket product for you.

Incidentally, in stark contrast, the Marriaqua Sports Association also launched its 2008 softball competition, last Saturday. More was heard of this than the national competition. In fact many national players found themselves at the Richland Park Playing Field, to be part of a fun opening.

Many will again be forgoing the national competition to slip away and get involved in softball cricket.

What draws these players to the various softball competitions?

Awake out of your prolonged slumber now that you have begun to snore and recognise that you are not doing such a good job as stewards of Cricket.

I guess many of you were too busy to take note of Joel Providence ‘s feature speech at your last Presentation Ceremony, when he made some recommendations to inject some life into the sport on the local front. Or were you asleep?

You have grandiose plans of the development programme, well documented and packaged, but we are still waiting its unwrapping.

The fast bowlers course held last year cannot be singled out as the end of it all to the process of development. We are awaiting the other components, and this must be done soonest.

I had suggested to a then member of the executive, about 14 years ago, that the Premier Division should have a maximum of six clubs, and I stressed “ clubs”, with two rounds of competition, designated home and away matches.

My view, then, which I still hold, was that it would be restricted to only the ‘serious’ cricketers. Looking at some of the action in the opening match of the Premier Division further convinces me of my long standing proposal.

Maybe we also have to look at the reference of the term “Premier”, as it is surely far from that.

How many teams/clubs have been involved in any sort of pre-season training leading up to the competition? I doubt many did. While facilities are limited, the general pick up play approach is once again in full effect.

But equally disappointing is the haste to put together an Under-19 team for the Windwards tournament in Grenada. This is almost inexcusable and is on the fringe of incompetence.

As defending champions, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is expected to retain the title, but putting together an under-prepared team is sending the wrong message to the youngsters, as they will be unable to make the transition, when more demanding preparations are required.

Then the world is expected from the same players when they achieve senior status. The product in most instances is the opposite, as the bad habits have been systematically nurtured through ineptitude.

The executive will have to look themselves in the mirror and ask, have we failed these youngsters? Time is not on your side, and I am certain that your consciences have pricked you profusely. Get your act together as cricket is bawling out for a few good men.

Some national associations are travelling in the same rudderless ferry, and can align to such in their respective set up.

But this is no comfort that you must continue to be passengers. Change must come, or I am certain that this exposition would be applicable again, at this same time next year.

In the same tone, it has been almost a year that I have expressed on behalf of several residents of the Sion Hill community their dissatisfaction of the ‘Mound’ at the Sion Hill Playing Field.