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‘Worry can’ and Windwards’ Cricket woes

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Territorial Development Officer of Cricket in the Windward Islands Irvin Warrican must be a worried man, as must be those who care about the sport in the four islands.{{more}}

What unfolded before the eyes of those who saw the Windwards Senior Tournament held here over a week and half ago, including Warrican, was not anything above Premier Division level cricket.

This is not to say that Warrican, the former St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Windwards off spinner, will have all the answers, but it is in his lap the course of development should be chartered, as that is substantive post.

Warrican, in his capacity, must develop programmes, make recommendations and endeavour to put the proper systems in place, so we can have something to smile about soonest.

To put things into proper perspective, except for West Indies Captain Darren Sammy, who was on international duties in India, the best of the four islands was on show here, yet no one really and truly stood out.

The tournament went true to form, as the slow bowlers continued to reap a bounty.

Also true to form, the batsmen were below par, as only three of them were able to accumulate over 100 runs.

But, that is typically Windwards Cricket, which often manifests itself at the wider regional level, when the four islands combine their talents in the West Indies tournaments.

Critical to the recent Windwards tournament, too, was the pitch and outfield at the Arnos Vale Two.

Though a contributing factor, it was on that surface that the top scorer in the competition, Devon Smith, made his highest totals. Therefore, it showed that once the batsmen were prepared to stick it out, then better returns could come their way.

While many bemoan the state of Windwards Cricket, ironically, it has become easier for players from the four island grouping to get into the regional side.

In recent times, Garey Mathurin and Miles Bascombe have gained selection to the West Indies T/20 team, not withstanding that the West Indies Captain is Darren Sammy.

Andre Fletcher, Devon Smith and Nellon Pascal likewise have come in for selection and tours on the West Indies team not too long ago.

Additionally, the Windwards, in the past seasons, reached the semi finals of the regional four day competition and the semi finals of the Limited Overs Competition last year.

Then, one can take some of the blame off the four islands, and conclude that the standard of Cricket in the Caribbean is generally not up to standard.

But to get things better in Windwards, we must start with all facets of the sport, both on and off the field.

Cricket in the four islands must be streamlined, as there are different structures which obtain in the individual territories.

Greater emphasis must be placed on youth development, as Cricket and sports as a whole, have gone past our current set up.

Also, some means has to be found as the two-day format of the Windwards tournament certainly cannot cut it, for a team to prepare for a four-day competition on the wider Caribbean scale.

The inevitable constraint of finance is the readily available excuse, but this anomaly must be corrected.

Obviously, our players are accustomed to playing two days, then for them to make that mental transformation to four days certainly is a misfit.

However, the players are giving credence to the format, as results are had within the time frame, added a winner is had, so what is the big deal some may ask.

But putting some sanity to Windwards Cricket goes beyond the senior competition, but the other functionaries of the game must be addressed in the shortest possible time frame.

If some framework for development is not put in place, we shall continue to be called “the Cinderellas and the Whipping Boys of West Indies Cricket”.

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